Kenny Jackett is hoping Wolves will show their development as a team when they face Walsall on Saturday.
The two sides played out two very tight contests at Molineux earlier in the season, Wolves prevailing on penalties after a 2-2 draw in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy before the Saddlers handed Jackett his first league defeat thanks to Andy Butler’s winner in the league.
Jackett knows there will be a pressure-cooker atmosphere in a packed Banks’s Stadium at the weekend, but has called on Wolves to go out and play their football as seen in recent weeks.
“I’d like to think we’re in a better place than we were and I’d like to think we’re a better team,” says the Head Coach.
“We know our job and we know our pattern more, but we have to go and prove that on that particular day knowing how much it will mean to the opposition to play Wolves.
“We have to realise that, not be frightened by it and certainly not use it as an excuse because that won’t wash.
“But we realise that’s the situation then we have to put our game together and go and play.
“We must give Walsall and the occasion every respect and then concentrate on our game, passing the ball, getting it down and playing to our potential and not worry about the opposition too much.
“It’s going to be a great atmosphere, and it will be terrific to see so many of our supporters.
“I’m looking forward to the game and a good local derby – it will be a derby atmosphere.”
Talking of the supporters, Jackett and the players remain appreciative of the backing received so far this season, which will see another sellout away following – on this occasion 3,400 – at the Banks’s Stadium on Saturday.
He also knows the link between players and fans will be particularly important if the team hit any setbacks between now and the end of the season.
“If at any stage of this period we go a goal down, suffer a poor performance or a loss of whatever, how are we going to react?” he said.
“The leadership has to come from us – we can’t just then look at the supporters.
“It’s foolish to think that and supporters will only react to what they see – whether that be good or bad.
“But there periods when you really do need the players to be able to bounce off the supporters and we’re in a bit of credit.
“We have to work hard to keep that now and accept that we’ve got a passionate crowd behind us that in the last third of the season are going to do their best to drive us on.
“We have to try to reward them with the performances, show a good lead, keep trying to play as we have been doing and I think then they will lift us.”
Jackett believes Wolves are now “in a good place” and should relish any added pressure and expectation following hitting top spot in the league.
Equally he knows there is still a very long way to go!
“Pressure is the wrong word – I don’t want it to be negative because Wolves is a great club and we’re in a terrific position,” he adds.
“I feel that focus is on us and it’s there anyway.
“I don’t see anything other than positive things to us being top.
“If we could be top any stage of the season, I’d always take it as a positive.
“Our side looks in a good place - it’s settled and we’re playing good football.
“As the season goes on you want your side to continue to improve and there’s been steady improvement which is nice to see.
“Positions, individuals, and even competition - you want those things to continue to improve.
“And those are the grounds for everyone’s optimism at present.
“It’s an exciting time for the club, I feel going into the last two months with a sense of something to go for and something to achieve.
“The hope is from my point of view, and the players and all of the supporters, that we have to concentrate this year on trying to get up into the Championship.
“And then it could be the start of a real good period for the club.”