Ståle Solbakken believes the improving Björn Sigurdarson is now a genuine strike rival to Kevin Doyle and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.
Sigurdarson has now started the last two games for Wolves having previously found opportunities more limited, and notched his first Molineux goal in Saturday’s defeat against Nottingham Forest.
The boss was always confident the young Icelander could adapt to the npower Championship, and believes he has added to the competition for places up front.
“I would say in the last three or four games that Bjorn has reached the levels we knew he would reach sooner or later,” he says.
“And I think he was physically superior in the Norwegian league and he came here and he wasn’t as dominant but he’s got that now.
“You see him now and he looks like he can cope with the English way of playing now.
“I don’t think many can criticise him now.
“He came on in the second half against Brighton and he was strong and set up a goal for Tongo, and, even though he had to play out of position for a long time, he was strong.
“He was also strong for long periods on Saturday and scored a fine goal and set up Doyle and Edwards for a chance each.
“So I think for the first time, he’s up there with Sylvan and Kevin which gives us more possibilities.
“I don’t think you could say he was as close to being as competitive as he is now until the last few weeks.
“So that’s a new situation.
“He’s extended himself to become a more valuable member of the team; he’s a player you can trust and one who has the quality to play for us.”
Fellow summer signing and key figure Bakary Sako has been rated as a “50-50” chance for tonight’s game due to a thigh injury while the boss also has a decision to make on Tongo Doumbia, who has been below par in recent weeks.
“Tongo has gone into the wall fitness-wise compared to where he was a few weeks ago,” says Solbakken.
“It’s maybe something to do with not having a full pre-season.
“So we have to look at that carefully, so we don’t kill his body.
“There were signs of improvement, so we will see how he feels how he reacts and how his body reacts after one more day of rest, food and the right things.
“It is also an individual thing because I think it’s been a gradual thing over a few weeks, and we have rested him a bit to get him better.
“It can also be in the head a little bit – it could be a case of he was on a high level at the start of the season and his levels dropped and he’s in a new country.
“So we’ll see what we can do.”
Other summer signings Georg Margreitter, Slawomir Peszko and Razak Boukari have been sidelined for several weeks while Wayne Hennessey, George Elokobi, Steven Mouyokolo, Jamie O’Hara and Stephen Hunt have been on the long-term injury list.
“Every player who can walk is in the squad,” added the boss.
“That makes it tough but there are also good possibilities when everyone is so close to the team whereby there is intense competition.
“Maybe it’s not so big competition but it’s more intensive.”