Kenny Jackett’s Wolves will continue their “work in progress” by stepping up the quality of their pre-season programme with a trip to Championship side Barnsley tomorrow (3pm).
The Head Coach has been enthused by the efforts of his players so far, but is mindful there is still more work to be done before the trip to Preston in a fortnight’s time, with a game at Oakwell offering a good test of the new squad’s credentials.
Up until now Wolves have won three out of three in their pre-season programme, against Scottish opposition East Fife and Livingston and Conference outfit Wrexham.
“I personally feel excited at the moment,” says Jackett.
“They have a lot of work to do to be a good team but I also feel they have the appetite to put that work in to get where they want to go and that’s to be a successful side.
“I don’t think they’re there yet – it’s a work in progress and you can see that from the games we have played.
“Particularly going forward, we still have a lot of work to do and understanding to find.
“We need a cutting edge and players to be able to go past people and excite the fans by taking defenders out of the game.
“That’s an area we’ve been working on a lot.
“I do feel in many ways we’re a work in progress, but as long as I see an appetite to embrace that work then we have a chance of being successful.
“If we look at the start of the season from Preston, a start for me is 10 games.
“It’s about seeing how we do in those 10 games and I’ll be setting targets of the players to get as many points as possible from those first 10 games.
“Sometimes you can split the games differently – three 12s and a 10 maybe – but at the moment we’ll be looking at the first 10 games.”
On tomorrow’s test Jackett added: “Barnsley had a very good second half of the season and are also very strong at home.
“They perhaps will be again this year.
“Going to Barnsley in the second half of the season was a tough one.
“I’m looking forward to it tomorrow because in terms of our pre-season it’s a step up from what we’ve played so far.
“I want, and would expect, our players to step up accordingly.”
Jackett hopes Björn Sigurdarson will be available after missing Tuesday’s game with Wrexham with a slight hamstring injury, and Kevin Doyle could come into contention after his groin problem providing he suffers no reaction to his return to training.
Kevin Foley (ankle) and Bakary Sako (hamstring) are unavailable but it is hoped neither problem is too serious.
Jackett has no fresh information regarding any possible movement in out of the club, but has confirmed the quartet made available for transfer – Karl Henry, Stephen Ward, Jamie O’Hara and Roger Johnson – have continued to train well.
“Those guys have been no problem around,” said Jackett.
“They haven’t been a hindrance.
“They’ve got on with their training, they’ve been training with the Under-21s, they’ll probably take part in another game so that they keep their match practice so they’re prepared and ready.
“They’ve been coming in on time and they’re training well with the young players.
“We’ve got to make sure they get the correct amount of practice and training.”
Jackett meanwhile believes Richard Stearman could be a key figure at Molineux next season, despite speculation linking him with a move elsewhere.
The Head Coach is still keeping an open mind on potential offers coming in for his senior players, but has been impressed with Stearman’s impact during pre-season.
“Richard has had a good first month here, a good period,” says Jackett.
“He’s trained very well and done well in the games as well.
“He’s shown quite a lot of competitiveness, he’s looked good on the ball and he’s brought a lot to the team, so I’ve got a good first impression of him having worked with him.
“He hasn’t intimated to me that he wants to leave.
“He was one of the first players I spoke to here and he’s committed to Wolves, definitely.
“In terms of any interest from other clubs, we haven’t had any and I’m fully expecting him to keep his head down and keep performing as he has done.
“Nothing has happened and his concentration levels and his performance levels have been good.
“As to who phones in the future, it’s tough to call.
“But I can only judge him on what I’ve seen and he’s performed very well.”
*Unfortunately tickets for Bristol City will not go on sale to Away Season Ticket Holders tomorrow (Saturday) as would have been planned. This is due to the implementation of new ticketing software at Bristol City. Apologies but this is out of our control. Update will be provided as soon as we have more information.