Sky Bet League One Player of the Month Michael Jacobs is relishing the challenge of being involved in a promotion challenge at Wolves.
Jacobs, named as February’s best in League One this morning, has been in excellent form for Wolves mirroring that of the team in landing seven successive wins prior to tomorrow’s tough derby test at neighbours Walsall (3pm).
That starts a spell of ten games in 29 days which will go a long way to deciding whether Wolves can maintain the intense pace at the top of the table.
“Things are going well but we’ve got another big game on Saturday,” says Jacobs.
“It’s quite good that the games are coming thick and fast because when you feel things are going well you just want to keep going.
“There are a lot of fixtures coming up but everyone feels confident and if we can really kick on during this March period it would set us up nicely.
“No one is getting carried away because the top three teams are very close and Rotherham and Preston have also been pushing on nicely.
“It could end up going down to the wire if everyone keeps picking up the results they have been recently.
“The nice thing is that it is in our own hands and if we keep performing as we have there is no reason why we can’t get in the top two.
“It’s exciting for me to be involved in.
“I’ve had a couple of scrappy relegation battles and one mid-table finish so it’s nice to be looking at the right end of the table.
“There is a bit of pressure but you have to enjoy that pressure and that’s what the boys are doing at the moment, making most of being in the promotion race.
“These are exciting times to be part of with Wolves looking to get back in the Championship and hopefully one day the Premier League.
“This is a big club with expectations but we need to live up to those and we have been doing in recent weeks.”
Jacobs in particular has impressed during recent weeks, his five goals in as many games just reward for some impressive forward play.
Utilised in what has become a traditional ‘number 10’ role behind a central striker, Jacobs’ ability to run with the ball and make things happen has formed a key part of Wolves’ attacking armoury.
“I’m on five from five at the minute and it’s been a nice return from me,” he says.
“I should probably have got a couple against Port Vale on Saturday but that was one of those things.
“Sometimes you don’t play so well and get a goal and others you can feel you are playing really well but don’t find the net.
“We need all areas of the team and I think a fair few people have contributed now which shows the strength we have going forward and the attacking play we can produce.
“Playing where I have been there is a bit of license to roam which is something I enjoy and I need to make the most of that by continuing to do well.
“If I can keep getting selected then hopefully I can keep contributing to the team and we can get to where we want to be.
“I do enjoy the central role and it’s a nice role to play.
“The good thing about it is that if James (Henry) or Sako want to come inside we can rotate and switch without it really having a difference on how we play.
“That versatility is something which can sometimes be hard to pick up and has worked for us over the last six or seven games.
“We need to keep it going.”
Whilst Jacobs is one of those who prefers to go forward to try and unlock opposition defences, he is also well aware of the importance of what is going on at the other end of the pitch as well.
The continuing excellence of Wolves’ goalkeeping and defensive work has certainly provided the sort of solid foundations to allow the creative players to go and do their stuff.
“The defence and keepers have done really well and are quite rightly proud of the record they have so far this season,” adds the 22-year-old.
“We are there to help them out but they have given us a really solid foundation.
“You only have to look at the standards they have set at the back this season, whoever has played, and you can see why they are the best in the league.
“Even when we are 3-0 up they are so determined to keep a clean sheet and you can see how much they care about it.
“They have done a fantastic job and can hopefully keep it going.
“It’s a good sign when there is so much competition for places particularly with the likes of Doc and Ethan waiting to get a chance.”
Now then for Jacobs’ early tastes of a Midlands derby with tomorrow’s trip to a Saddlers side who will be keen to come out of a recent dip in their own results to try and land a league double over Wolves.
The winger does have plenty of derby experience – quite literally at Derby – and is looking forward to enjoying the atmosphere of a packed Banks’s Stadium.
“It’s another game to really look forward to,” he insists.
“It’s a derby and it will be a tough place to go particularly as Walsall have done well this season.
“Results recently may have dipped a bit but I have seen them a couple of times this season and you can see what they are capable of.
“They have got the ability to get results against all the teams in the divisions and will be keen to end our recent run but that is the challenge we have to be ready for and look forward to.
“I’ve had a bit of local derby experience, the main one being playing for Derby against Nottingham Forest.
“It was away at Forest which was quite a lively atmosphere, and we came away with a 1-0 win.
“You have to enjoy those atmospheres and embrace them whilst also knowing that at the end of the day it is just another game with three points up for grabs.
“For us Saturday is all about trying to keep our recent run going.”