Skipper Sam Ricketts today reflected on a successful week spent in Ireland and highlighted the squad’s potential to have a successful season in the Sky Bet Championship.
Wolves return today from their pre-season tour which was based at Portmarnock Hotel, which included a 4-1 victory over Shamrock Rovers and 3-1 win against Bohemians.
The skipper has been pleased to see the squad picking up from where they left off at the end of last season, not only in the manner of their performances but also the spirit and togetherness which will be key next season.
“The trip went really well,” said Ricketts.
“I think the gaffer has been here before and historically Wolves have been over to Ireland quite a bit.
“So you know things like where is good to train, what the pitches are like, what the gym facilities are like.
“It can be quite difficult to cater for 24 lads and all the staff but the hotel have been superb.
“They have a lot of football teams stay here and they have looked after us very well.
“When you are out here training hard and playing matches you need the food to be good and it has certainly been that.
“The environment is great around here and from a players’ point of view we couldn’t have asked for any more.
“When you go away for the summer and have six or so weeks away you lose the rhythm and the routine of playing football and being in the squad.
“You slowly get that back in the first couple of weeks and coming away helps that because you eat, sleep and drink football for the week.
“It allows players to socialise together and spend time together and form working relationships which carry onto the football pitch.
“We’ve kept a settled squad and it’s been about picking up from where we left off at the end of last season when we had a style of play and everyone knew each other’s games and how we wanted to play which was ideally to control games.
“I think that has shown in our performances so far in pre-season and it is testament to the players that everyone has come back in such good physical shape.
“That has allowed the footballs to come out very quickly and offers the opportunity for everyone to continue to work hard to improve both individually and as part of the team.”
Ricketts says Wolves have reported back in good shape and ready to make the step-up for the new challenge in the Championship.
And the skipper, who has played both at this level and above in his career, believes there is the right mix within the squad which augurs well for what lies ahead.
“There is potential throughout the whole side,” he says.
“We have got some young players and then others who have been there and done it and got out of this league and played in the Premier League as well.
“And others who are rising up and trying to make a name for themselves.
“We’ve got a really good mix and ultimately a mix of players who are hungry to achieve whether they have done it once and want to do it again or are doing it for the first time.
“We have got players who will keep pushing each other to get better.
“We are not the finished article – we are an ever-evolving side as every team needs to be.
“We are going into the season with optimism but also know this is the Championship and you can’t read too much into it.
“Burnley were fourth favourites to be relegated last season and ended up getting promoted in second place.
“There are so many good teams in there and there is no divine right for anyone to do well as I think Wolves found out a couple of years ago.
“We are going into it with our eyes wide open and know it is a big challenge but it is not one we are scared of - we are ready for it and can’t wait to get started.
“The club is growing and team is growing and we want to be as good as we can be.
“It is a new era for Wolves which is into its second season and we want to see where that goes.”