It has been quite a season for Carl Ikeme and it’s doubtful if he has ever played better than in the win at Leyton Orient on Monday as he helped preserve his team’s lead with some saves that were world class.
Quietly spoken and modest, Ikeme fully deserved his Man of the Match accolade in front of the Sky cameras although he had to accept the award nursing a badly swollen and bloodied nose following an accidental kick from team-mate Danny Batth.
It is the keeper’s second second promotion with Wanderers – he played a part in Mick McCarthy’s side that was elevated to the Premier League in 2009.
But he admitted: “This one is better for me because I’ve been more heavily involved this time.
“I didn’t play as much last time so I didn’t feel as big a part of it then.
“But I also think the fans are possibly enjoying it more – especially now, because they’ve got a team they can relate to.
“I think they sung every player’s name at Leyton Orient so it shows how tight the club and the fans are.
“Hopefully we can move forward and take this into next season and who knows what can happen?”
With two games remaining, Wolves need to win one of them to equal Plymouth’s record for the third tier in English football of 102 points whilst two wins would take Kenny Jackett’s men up to 105 – level with Sunderland who achieved the total in 1999, and one behind the all-time record for English soccer of 106 set by Reading in 2006.
“We keep thinking of having a party but there always seems to be another goal to achieve,” said Ikeme.
“Our focus is on the next game – I know it sounds boring but maybe 10 or 12 days after the end of the season, we’ll have plenty of time to party then.
“We’ve got two games left and the fans are going to come out and support us and it’s up to us to put on a show and put the effort.”
Of his ‘war wound’ he added: “There was a massive melee and there was a bit of a mad scramble.
“Danny kicked me and kicked the ball, which is fine as long as the ball didn’t go in the net.
“The ball flashed across which is always difficult as a goalkeeper because you’re never sure whether to stay or go.
“But fortunately we kept the ball out of the net.
“We were fortunate to win but that’s a good sign really because it shows we’re resilient and prepared to do whatever it takes, to win any way, even when we don’t play well.
“The lads at the back – Sam (Ricketts), Danny, ‘Stears’ (Richard Stearman) and Scott (Golbourne) - have put their bodies on the line all season.
“The amount of good blocks they put has been tremendous – even against Rotherham when we won 6-4 – that could have been 10-10 but for some great blocks by the lads!
“It shows the desire we’ve got to try to keep the ball out of the net.
“The defence deserves a lot of credit – when we’ve been winning by two or three goals, everyone talks about the firepower, but we’ve broke the club record for clean sheets and we haven’t done that by just attacking all season.
“So the lads at the back need to take massive credit for our season because it gives the rest a platform to go and win two or three nil.
“People might say we’ve been blowing teams away but it’s not always been the case – as we saw yesterday, it was a perfect example of lads putting their bodies on the line to keep the ball out of the net.”