Boss Ståle Solbakken has explained his substitution of Jermaine Pennant against Brighton – believing he needed to inject some fresh legs into the team following Karl Henry’s dismissal.
By Solbakken’s admission Pennant had enjoyed a productive first half, and the winger’s clear disappointment at his 58th minute withdrawal was welcomed by the manager who acknowledges he would have been very worrying if he had been happy to come off.
Having played little regular recent football prior to joining Wolves on loan from Stoke, Pennant has been backed to improve now he has had some action under his belt.
“We took Pennant off but he did not have a bad day – he was good with the ball in the first half,” said Solbakken.
“But he doesn’t cover as much grass and when you play with four in midfield and are down to 10 men, I think you have to choose between him and Sako because both of them are better going forward than backwards.
“Bjorn is a striker but I said to him to play on the right and go up and support Doyle when he has the power and I think he did that very well.
“Tactically he struggled a little bit with the positioning, but he stole the ball for Tongo’s goal and had one or two other attacks as well.
“Pennant should be disappointed because he did o-k.
“But he’s bright enough to understand it.
“It’s always like this – players do not want to come off.
“It would have been very worrying if he had been happy and said ‘yes’ that he was happy to come off!
“He came here not having played in the Championship for a long time and when he stamped on the ball at Huddersfield a couple of times he got a bird’s perspective of the division – he found himself kicked up in the air.
“It’s not easy to come in when there are big expectations, but I saw some good things on the ball in the first half.”
And if it has taken Pennant a few games to become accustomed to the Championship, the boss is now encouraged by what he is seeing.
“I think what’s happened with him is very normal for players who haven’t played much in a while,” he explains.
“He came here and played three games quite quickly and maybe you struggle with a lack of match rhythm but he’s had some good moments.
“Also, like many players coming from the Premier League, you don’t realise that if you stay on the ball for one second too long, you end up in the air watching from a bird perspective.
“He’s going in the right direction but I think he must also be aware that some games will be for him and some games maybe won’t be for him.”