Boss Ståle Solbakken is hoping resting midfielder Tongo Doumbia and sending him away with a fitness regime will prompt a return to his best form ahead of Saturday’s Midlands derby with Birmingham (5.20pm).
With Doumbia looking jaded in recent weeks the boss decided against letting him continue to try and regain his form and took him out of the squad for the weekend’s 4-1 win at Bristol City.
The Mali international was back at the Compton training ground yesterday, mentally and physically refreshed and looking to regain the impetus of his impressive first few games in Wolves’ colours.
“I hope that Tongo will be ‘reloaded’ because he has looked very jaded in his last few games so hopefully he can get back to the levels he showed in his first six, seven or eight weeks,” says Solbakken.
“He trained half the session yesterday and then he went to work with Tony Daley again.
“I don’t think it’s so strange with him because of what happened in the summer – and this is the only way we got him – the French coach at Rennes threw him out because they didn’t see eye to eye.
“And when players are thrown out, it’s difficult for them to keep their shape and to maintain their fitness.
“Then he came to us after we’d done all our hard physical work, I think he came straight to the Shrewsbury friendly more or less.
“He came in with a lot of happiness in terms of finding a new club, so physically at that time he felt like he could fly – and he did for some weeks.
“But the reward he got at the beginning he couldn’t sustain because he hadn’t got the miles in his legs which a pre-season would have given him to prepare him for a long season.
“So it’s not as if he’s been on holiday, but he’s trained differently.”
The boss is also conscious of the difficulties foreign players can sometimes face in a new country and a new culture, and says Doumbia combined his fitness work in France with seeing his family.
“He also has a lot of brothers and sisters in France that he takes care of as well, so it was a two-way thing,” added Solbakken.
“He could do his individual programme, but why do it here when we were away for three days, why not go back to France, do the individual work, see his family and get two in one?
“It was only common sense, and I don’t think other players are tired.
“It’s also a new culture to him after playing 26 games for Rennes last season, and he’s played 18 already this season without a pre-season so I don’t think it’s strange, it’s just common sense.
“This is a player who felt like he could just burst through three or four weeks ago but now he’s struggling to do that.”