Kevin McDonald today revealed the Wolves dressing room is “buzzing” on the back of a seven-game winning streak – but that the players know they must carry on going about their business to achieve their promotion goal.
And in McDonald’s case, that would be third time lucky should it happen after successive play-off defeats in the last two years with Sheffield United.
Wolves head to Walsall for a passionate local derby on Saturday backed by a 3,400 following, and the Scottish midfielder acknowledges there can be no let-up in both attitude and quality of football.
“We’re on a good run, spirits are high and the place is buzzing as you’d expect,” says McDonald.
“Hitting top of the league on Saturday as well – it’s a nice place to be just now and long may that continue!
“But we all know what football is like and that is why no one is getting carried away.
“We may have won seven on the bounce and be top of the league but there is no gap at all and we know how hard it is going to be.
“We’ve just got to carry on going about our business quietly and confidently and not slack up at all.
“We’ve got to continue playing the way we have been especially going into March which is a difficult month with so many games.
“I am sure there are going to be some strange results in the league with all the games coming thick and fast but hopefully we can have a strong month and keep ourselves where we want to be.
“It has been a nice run we’re on and you enjoy the wins when they come but it’s only three points – that alone doesn’t win you the league or get you promoted.
“We’ve got eight games in March which could be a tough time and so we all have to stick together and grind out results especially the games away from home.
“If we do perform as we have been recently I’m sure we won’t be far away come the end of the season.”
McDonald is still only 25, but already has plenty of promotion push experience, including three campaigns in the last six years.
Back in 2008/09, when Wolves won promotion from the Championship, he was part of the play-off winning Burnley squad, while in each of the last two seasons he has suffered play-off disappointment in Sky Bet League One with Sheffield United.
“I’ve been in and around a few promotion battles, at Burnley the first year I was there and then the last couple of seasons with Sheffield United when we were the big team in the league,” he says.
“It’s good to be in the thick of it – you have to enjoy the pressure of the situation and would rather be looking at the top end than be sat in mid-table or trying to avoid relegation.
“Everyone should enjoy the pressure, I know I do, and you just have to relish it with every game which comes along.
“The last two years we were beaten in the play-off final with Sheffield United and then the play-off semi final last season.
“That’s definitely not the way you want to go out at the end of a long season.
“Hopefully we can pick up enough results not to need the play-offs this time and can get up there via automatic promotion.
“Everyone wants it at the club and it is up to us to make sure we achieve it.”
The first of those 14 fixtures which will make or break Wolves’ bid for automatic promotion comes with the short trip to the Banks’s Stadium on Saturday.
McDonald expects a tough test against a Walsall side who have won and drawn in regulation time against Wolves so far this season.
“Being a local derby just adds that bit extra to what was already a tough game,” says the midfield talisman.
“I remember going there with Sheffield United last season and it was a difficult game and I think playing for Wolves against them will be even tougher.
“We have been on this good run though and while knowing this will be difficult we have got to grind out a win if needs be.
“Walsall have played well against us twice this season and at their place they will be fired up even more.
“Like a lot of clubs when we travel it is a big game so we know what to expect and Walsall play some good football as well.
“We have to go there and give everything we have and be disciplined in our work and if we play as we can we will be there or thereabouts.
“We’ve got a great away following at the game and the fans have got behind us really well this season and hopefully they are enjoying themselves.
“No one likes to lose games – players or fans – and there were always going to be a few hits and bumps along the way but we are fortunate to have such big crowds home and away in full voice which makes for a great atmosphere.”