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In Focus: Wolves

12 June 2013

Wolverhampton Wanderers are the next team to feature on our ‘In Focus’ look at the new sides in League 1.

Kenny Jackett – Appointed as Wolves boss earlier this month, Jackett arrives at Molineux with a wealth of experience at League 1 level. 

Jackett began his managerial career at the club he had made 300 appearances for as a player, Watford, and has since taken charge of Swansea City and Millwall.

The 51-year-old holds an impressive record in this division having reached three play-off finals as a manager in League 1. Jackett’s only success in those play-off finals, however, came in 2008/09 when his Milwall side defeated Swindon Town 1-0 at Wembley.

Key and notable players:
Kevin Doyle – Doyle has been with Wolves since 2009 and has accumulated a total of 135 appearances during that time. Capped 53 times by Republic of Ireland, Doyle finished as top goalscorer in the side’s 2009 Premier League campaign and, when fit, has been a regular front-man for the West Midlands outfit. Wolves’ relegation to League 1, though, might see Doyle depart Molineux, with a host of Championship clubs vying for his signature.

Jamie O’Hara – Midfielder O’Hara joined Wolves from Tottenham Hotspur having impressed during his loan spells at both Portsmouth and Molineux. O’Hara, who has seven England Under-21 caps and a League Cup winners medal, will provide Wolves with experience and ability in the middle of the park next year. 

Karl Henry – Another talented middle-man, Henry captained Wolves during their three-year stay in the Premier League between 2009 and 2012. With over 240 appearances to his name for Wolves, Henry will be vital in Jackett’s side’s promotion push.

One to watch – Leigh Griffiths; with the inevitable departure of Kevin Doyle, Griffiths may get the chance to show what he can do for Wolves this year. Griffiths is coming into 2013/14 off the back of a sensational season for Scottish Premier League side Hibernian, a season which saw him named Scottish Young Player of the Year after netting 28 goals in 42 games while on loan at Easter Road.

Karl Henry (left) and Jamie O'Hara (right) show their dejection after a defeat last season.

Stadium: Molineux Stadium (31,700 capacity)
Nickname: Wolves
Kit: Gold shirts, black shorts, gold socks.

Founded in 1877 at St. Lukes, Wolverhampton Wanderers turned professional in 1888 after they were nominated to be one of the 12 founder members of the Football League. Wolves, in fact, played in the first ever Football League match, scoring the first ever Football League goal as well.

After various Cup and League successes, Wolves established themselves as one of the leading club sides in England pre-Second World War, with the side later enjoying their most dominant spell in the 1950s, winning three top division titles during the decade.

Since then Wolves have suffered multiple relegations and enjoyed several promotions, with their most recent spell in the Premier League coming in 2009. However, a disappointing two seasons at Molineux has seen the former giants slip into the third tier of English football for the first time since 1988.

Following relegation from the Premier League at the end of the 2011/12 season, Wolves appointed Norwegian manager Stale Solbakken as manager with the aim of bouncing straight back to the top division.

However, despite a solid start to the year, Wolves went on to win only four games from October to the end of December – a run which saw Solbakken lose his first job in England.

Despite handing the job to Doncaster Rovers’ Dean Saunders in early January, Wolves torrid form continued, with Saunders’ first win as manager not coming until 4th March. A late resurgence from Wolves provided the Molineux faithful with optimism of a dramatic escape heading into the final weeks of the season but, in the end, it only delayed the inevitable – a second successive relegation. 

The first major change at Molineux this close season came at the top, with Wolves appointing Kenny Jackett as their third manager within a year. Jackett has been in the job just under two weeks and has yet to make a signing.

Before that, though, Wolves released trio Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Stephen Hunt and Christophe Berra. Ebanks-Blake was the side’s top goalscorer in 2012/13 and his release saw a five-year associated with the club come to and end.

While those three players won’t be with Wolves next year, Leigh Griffiths, George Elokobi, Danny Batth, Dave Edwards and Aaron McCarey might be after they all had one-year options taken up on their contracts. Griffiths arrives back at Molineux having won Scottish Young Player of the Year with Hibernian in the Scottish Premier League.

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