Kenny Jackett tonight hailed an excellent Wolves performance as they emerged from a tough assignment with a strong Bradford side as 2-1 winners.
And the Head Coach, who acknowledged he didn’t get his team right prompting the early switch to introduce Kevin Doyle, helping to spark the result which takes Wolves into the top two in Sky Bet League One.
Jamie O’Hara returned to the 18-man matchday squad for the first time under Jackett, who said the midfielder had been “humbled” by his exclusion over the last four months and now has the opportunity to try and force his way into the first team picture.
“This was a very good win at a hard place to come,” said Jackett.
“It was Bradford’s biggest crowd of the season and they drove their team on.
“I have a lot of respect for what Phil Parkinson has done here – he has done an outstanding job.
“They will be a handful this season particularly at home and have every chance of competing at the top end all the way through the year.
“To come here under those circumstances and win the game is a terrific achievement for ourselves.
“It was never going to be an easy or comfortable game.
“We scored two good goals and in the second half weathered the storm and could have done more on the break if our football had been a little bit more incisive – we are always looking to improve.”
The early tactical switch from Jackett saw Doyle come off the bench for Lee Evans in the 24th minute, nothing to do with the Welsh midfielder’s performance but just the need to change the formation and offer more support to Leigh Griffiths.
Jackett meanwhile was again full of praise for Carl Ikeme, who made some key late saves to back up another solid performance from the Wolves defence.
“The change was just tactical,” Jackett confirmed.
“I felt the formation was wrong for the day that it was – a back to front game where we had to pass it forward.
“It wasn’t that easy to keep the ball and young Lee understood that it wasn’t anything to do with his performance.
“We needed two up front in the end against a team who play very well off a very good centre forward with long throws and a keeper who kicks it long on a tight pitch.
“We needed to be able to counter and be a threat on the break.
“Then we saw it out when we had to as we have defended very well this season and our goalkeeper came to our rescue when we needed him.
“We’ve had a couple of quiet games where we haven’t needed him today but we needed him today to be strong and he was.”
Richard Stearman was withdrawn with a foot injury in the second half, having earlier headed in the winning goal after James Henry had cancelled out Raffaele De Vita’s opener.
O’Hara underwent a lengthy post-match fitness exercise having been an unused substitute, and has been set the challenge of forcing his way into a team which has made an impressive start to the season.
“We lost Jack Price yesterday morning because he had a migraine and some blurred vision which is the second time it has happened in the last couple of weeks,” Jackett explained.
“That meant we were one short from the starting eleven from Tuesday night.
“And then as an overall picture I feel enough time has passed now for Jamie O’Hara.
“I think that the last four months have humbled him – that’s his own words - and that he is very happy and appreciative that everyone at the club is willing to give him a second chance.
“It will be interesting now to see how he comes back into the group and see whether he can earn a place.
“His performances in the Under-21s have been very good.
“We are going to bring him back into the group and set him the task of working as hard as he possibly can, being a good team player and earning a place and seeing where it takes him.
“We will see what the long term affect is of it but initially it was us losing a man from our three man midfield and I’d be foolish not to use anybody on my books positively if we need them.”
Today’s win means Wolves have now taken 32 points from the first 13 games of the season, and once again showed plenty of character and quality.
“We’ve got a really good points total and you have to win different ways in this league,” said Jackett.
“This was a different type of game to Tuesday night at home against Oldham and we stood up to the test and did very well.”