Head Coach Kenny Jackett was particularly pleased with the impact of the Wolves substitutes as Leigh Griffiths’ second half goal secured a hard-fought win at Chesterfield on Tuesday night.
After Dave Edwards fired home an early opener, Chesterfield fought their way back into the game to equalise through Drew Talbot before the break.
But Wolves, who added Lee Evans, Bjorn Sigurdarson, Kevin Foley and Zeli Ismail to the fray at half time or soon after, hit back strongly in the second half with Griffiths finishing clinically from Evans’ excellent pass to seal the victory and make it five unbeaten in pre-season.
“It was a really good game,” said Jackett.
“It didn’t seem like a friendly – it was high tempo and was very good because it will be like a lot of our league games with a high level of motivation for the opposition.
“They were competing for everything and every decision and putting free kicks and long balls into the box at the end to try and get an equaliser.
“It was a very good test for us as all of the pre-season games have been and realistic to the challenges that we are going to face during the course of the season.
“We started the game very well and then Chesterfield came back into it.
“And in the second half when we made the changes I thought we looked better again.
“There were some good performances by the substitutes – mainly young players – but you want that because it creates some competition for places and shows they have some hunger to push their way into the team.
“It was a good battling performance and with the changes it has given me both competition and options which you do need in what is a very busy season.
“It is about making sure we are not only strong on the pitch but also on the bench because we are going to need that.
“The last half hour of games will be vital periods and so goals from the bench are important.
“There were some good performances by those guys coming on in the second half and Zeli was one of them.
“His workrate was good but the option he has in the wide right position to either go inside our outside is good.
“There was a good cutback at the end where I thought he was a little bit unlucky.”
Griffiths continues to impress in pre-season and it was another excellent finish to make it three for pre-season since effectively relaunching his Wolves career under Jackett.
“Leigh got a slight knock, I hope he’s not too bad,” said the Head Coach.
“He could be a key player because he has the ability to score which is a rare commodity and generally an expensive one.
“It’s one that can make a difference between drawing or winning.”
One striker missing from the squad was fit-again Kevin Doyle, with Jackett explaining he didn’t want to disrupt the four frontmen who have featured during pre-season so far.
“We will see with Kevin but I didn’t want to disappoint or move any of the younger guys out,” he said.
“He was hampered slightly by the groin injury which meant he missed the start of the games programme in Scotland.
“It is getting close to the season and I will have to think about what to do.
“He is a contracted player and we will have to see what to do about that as we go into the season as to whether we need his experience or whether I want to go ahead with the young forwards that are here or bring someone in.
“They are the options that I have in that position.
“It is not too late for him to force his way in and I will assess that as we go.
“I haven’t picked my side for Saturday (Real Betis) and I certainly haven’t picked my side for Preston – I’m too experienced to know that a lot can happen between now and then.”
Jackett meanwhile sent on the best wishes of everyone at Wolves to former skipper Karl Henry, who had completed his move to Queens Park Rangers an hour-and-a-half before kick off.
“We wish Karl all the best,” he said.
“Personally I feel it is right for the club and right for the player to go to a fresh challenge.
“On behalf of everybody at the club I would thank him for his service and we all wish him the very best at Queens Park Rangers.”
All focus now is on the final friendly against Real Betis at Molineux on Saturday (3pm), Jackett’s first fixture in charge on home soil.
“It has been an interesting pre-season and we have given quite a number of people some playing time which has given me some food for thought,” he added.
“We have got one pre-season game left and it is a big one – my first game at home at Molineux which I am really looking forward to.
“Developing a winning mentality is very important and tonight was a good game because the challenges we were set will be very similar to the ones in our league.
“We have to overcome that and get results.
“So far we are unbeaten in pre-season and we want that to continue, because, above anything, that is a fantastic habit to get into.”