Kenny Jackett has admitted he is in a “chicken and egg” situation with George Elokobi who needs games to get back to his best but has found it difficult to break into the Wolves’ back-line.
Wolves’ Head Coach has explained his decision to withdraw Elokobi at half time during Tuesday’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy game with Notts County as he wanted to use Scott Golbourne’s more attacking threat from the left back position after a poor first half from the team.
Elokobi missed almost all of last season with a serious ankle injury and had suffered minor hamstring problems in his two previous outings this season.
Mindful of Elokobi’s positive attitude and influence in the dressing room, as well as his potential when fully fit, Jackett is keeping an open mind as to whether to consider a loan move given he may need him for Wolves.
“George has had a tough time with injury,” said Jackett, who has seen his defence maintain an impressive consistency in goals conceded so far.
“Before Tuesday night he had played two first team games and unfortunately picked up an injury in both.
“He does need games and unfortunately it’s a chicken and egg situation at the moment.
“He’s been trying to find that fitness to get a run and get into form and that’s where he’s been for a little while.
“The other night we desperately needed our full backs to come out of their slots and Golbourne is very good and that and did it in the second half.
“He engineered a better – but not great – second half for the team with a little bit more fluency where we did look a bit more of a threat and a danger down the left hand side.
“In the first half our full backs had been pinned back and we didn’t have any movement and Golbourne is particularly good at doing that from left back.
“That was what was needed and unfortunately it was George who had to be sacrificed to get a better performance.
“It wasn’t something I wanted to do in terms of him individually but trying to win the game and improving from a poor first half was what we were trying to do.”
On how Elokobi can return back to the sort of form which saw him enjoy a sustained run in Wolves’ Premier League team, Jackett added: “George has to keep working as hard as he does because he’s a very diligent professional.
“He has to keep training and can play as many Under-21 games as he possibly can and wait and see what happens in the future.
“As well as looking at any one individual player we also have to protect the club and look after the club in terms of what’s a very important season.
“We need a squad of players ready and available and working towards those first team games.
“It’s always a balance between the two – what the individual needs and the cover and competition for the club in a very important season.
“It is a frustrating period for George because in his two previous games this campaign so far he’s picked up injuries.
“He needs games and to get going to produce his best form but unfortunately injuries have stopped him doing that.
“When that builds up as it did for up to two seasons you do have sympathy for someone who’s a very decent guy and a very good professional.”
Elokobi meanwhile is one of several Wolves player who have been spotted wearing special tape whilst warming up for matches.
Head of the Medical Department Phil Hayward reveals all!
He said: “A few players have been wearing the tape that runs down the hamstring – James Henry and George Elokobi are just two.
“It’s Kinesio tape just to help with muscle firing really.
“From our screenings, some of the lads have maybe been identified as having muscles that maybe don’t fire as well as others.
“So we can use the tape to almost facilitate the muscle activities and make sure it’s firing as well as it can do.
“There are probably about eight of the lads who use it.
“It’s just preventative really to make sure everything is working properly.
“It’s kind of elasticated tape and when you stick it on, it almost pulls the layers of skin together overlying the muscles so there’s tension and it helps the muscle fibre underneath that.
“It’s used quite a lot – I saw quite a few athletes at the Olympics use it last year.
“It’s not suddenly come into football – it’s been around for maybe five years and if you watch Match of the Day, you’ll see a lot of players in the Premier League using it, so it’s not just us.
“Danny Batth is another example who wears tape on his knee.
“He had a knock on his knee a few weeks ago, and we put some tape on the front of his knee to try to affect the position of the kneecap.
“It’s the same sort of situation in that we’re trying to use the tension and it can be used to affect the alignment of the kneecap so wherever the tape is, it pulls the kneecap one way or the other, depending on what you think the issue is that’s causing the discomfort.
“So you can use it for a variety of different things but we’re using it more than we have done previously.”