Skipper Samuel Ricketts today hailed the attitude of the club’s young guns and their desire to “achieve something” as Wolves head to Oldham tonight.
At 32, Ricketts is proving an impressive leader of a new and young Wolves side, average age 23 against Bristol City on Saturday, and likely to be similar for the team’s fourth meeting of the season with the Latics at Boundary Park.
But he has been very impressed himself by the ambition and attitude of the young players, believing the club has reaped the rewards of the work of the Academy.
“We’ve got a really good group of players here who want to achieve something,” says Ricketts.
“They have got a really good attitude and know that they are at the beginning of their careers and have a lot of potential.
“It is that attitude that will determine how far they all go in their careers.
“They are very receptive and they want to learn and I think the gaffer has noticed that.
“The club needs to be applauded for the standard of the players that have come through the Academy and the numbers of them.
“It is a huge thing for the club and if you look at Danny Batth it is his first real run in the side consistently and he has been very good and has been rewarded with a new contract.
“Everyone can see that if you dedicate yourself and have the right attitude the rewards are there.”
Ricketts also believes the squad have come to terms with the added expectation levels surrounding Wolves this season, notably the ability of other Sky Bet League One teams to raise their games when facing the men from Molineux.
He added: “I don’t know if it helps that a lot of the lads have come through the ranks here and know the club so well.
“Some of them have supported the club and that probably helps in that they want to do well as much as the fans do.
“The added pressure of us being the team which everyone else wants to beat this year is something I enjoy and something we can embrace as a team.
“We do enjoy the challenge of a side coming at us and trying to impose themselves on us.
“That’s where we have probably benefitted this season and got better in terms of learning to deal with that.
“The gaffer has always said that there are players in the lower leagues who have always got Championship performances in them – it is about how regularly they can do it.
“We are playing against a lot of teams and players who are putting in top end performances which is good because it drives me on as an individual and want to show why it is that I play for Wolves and am proud to be here.
“We know that we can’t go out any week and just take it easy and that we are going to have to be at our best.”
Wolves have won one, drawn one and lost one against Oldham this season, and will be expecting another tough test against a side which beat Peterborough 5-4 on Saturday.
But Ricketts says they are in confident mood after Saturday’s 3-1 victory against City, as they chase a result to keep up the pursuit of Brentford and Leyton Orient.
“I think it was another good performance by us,” he says.
“We have set some good standards recently although maybe results haven’t always matched the performances.
“We have just needed a bit more cutting edge in the final third but we scored three at the weekend and possibly could have had more against a side who were unbeaten in five in the league heading into the game.
“I don’t think it was a game which was 50-50 or a scrappy one where you win it in the last minute – we played well and were always generally in control but needed to get the second and third goals.
“The points we are averaging – just after two a game – historically is enough to be at the top of any league.
“There are two clubs doing slightly better than us at the moment but we are just concentrating on ourselves and if we keep that average up between now and the end of the season we will be there or thereabouts.”