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Pick up where we left off

Wolves Head Coach Kenny Jackett is looking for his team to pick up from where they left off prior to the International break.

The impressive performance in the 1-1 draw away to Burnley last time out meant that Wolves have suffered just one defeat in their last five matches, and Jackett wants that form to continue as Ipswich Town visit Molineux tomorrow (3pm).

 

He said: “There’s no-one here who wants the season to peter out, in terms of results and performances.

 

“Your individual aspiration should be to be a good Championship player and wanting to attack the Premier League that’s where you should be and that has to coincide with the team and club ethic of doing exactly the same.

 

“We want to give our supporters optimism for the future and take the responsibility, there are five Saturday’s left between now and the end of the season and we want them to be good ones.

 

“We will make sure we put a good performance on Saturday, we don’t want any hangover from the two-week break and then we’ll attack this last run of games in a positive manner.

 

“At times we’ve been close to looking like a top six side and at others we haven’t and thus then we’ve been middle ground, so the table doesn’t lie. We want to improve on that and we want to match the top sides for quality and consistency and if you do that you deserve to be in the top six.”

 

Former Wolves boss Mick McCarthy returns to Molineux with an Ipswich side sitting in eighth place in the Sky Bet Championship, four points off the playoff positions.

 

McCarthy enjoyed a successful spell in the Molineux hot seat between 2006-2012 which culminated with winning the Championship in 2009, and then subsequently establishing the club in the Premier League over the next two seasons.

 

Like the Molineux faithful Jackett knows that McCarthy and his team represent a big test for his team, though Jackett does not think that McCarthy’s return will have to much of a bearing on the game.

 

Jackett said: “He’s got a fantastic track record at many clubs and at Wolves as well. I’m sure he’s played against Wolves many times since he’s moved on but he’s well remembered for a very successful period in the club’s history.

 

“Most weeks you can look at some link whether it be players or management so I’m sure everybody for their own reasons will be desperate to win this week both Ipswich and Wolves.”

 

“We had an interesting game at Portman Road earlier in the season (2-2 draw) and like every Championship club they will give you a good game, you can’t look at the league table and say there is an easy game.

 

“They’ll want to be putting in the big run now between now and the end of the season to get into that top six, and like every Championship side we’ll give them respect.

 

“From our point of view it’s our home game and we want to impose ourselves, play very well and put on a good show in terms of performance and result for our supporters and create optimism.”

There’s been plenty of optimism ahead of the clash with the Tractor Boys, most notably the return of James Henry from a hamstring injury.

 

While internationals Dominic Iorfa, Kortney Hause, Matt Doherty, Kevin McDonald all returned to training unscathed.

 

Carl Ikeme is also available to play after he recovered from the illness that forced him to cut short his international duty with Nigeria.

 

Ikeme has been in excellent form of late, and Jackett believes that is partly down to the high level of competition from Emiliano Martinez, who has also recently returned to training following injury.

 

Jackett said: “The standard of his training has been very high since he’s been back.

 

“He’s had a big chunk of the season being out injured which has been frustrating for him and since he’s been back yes he is frustrated, but he’s been very professional and will be right the way through to the end of the season, pushing to try and get that number one shirt for Wolves.

 

“I think he’s a very good goalkeeper and I do think the injuries that he’s had have been frustrating for him and for us and it does show that having two good goalkeepers can bring out the best in a number one and Emi being here and around in the last few weeks has spurred Carl on to battle for the place, and I do think that it’s resulted in a good goalkeeping performance for Wolves and that’s a big thing.

 

“If you can get to two players for every position then you can get real cover and competition, then you can be successful so yes direct competition does bring out the best in players.”

Meanwhile, with several players being away on international duty, Jackett has been able to take a closer look at some of the club’s Under 21 players.

 

Earlier this week, Jackett said that where possible he will look to give Academy graduates first team opportunities before the end of the season. And having had the chance to work with the younger players at the Sir Jack Hayward training ground he’s been very impressed with the quality on show.

 

He said: “If it’s right and if they’ve earned it - which is the way it’s been right the way through my reign - I want to test and push the young players to be of the standard where they can come into the Championship and make a difference, they are capable of that and when it’s right and we’ll give them the chance and hopefully then the backing and the platform to be very good players for Wolves.

 

“We have a very strong policy here and we work very hard at it, and I think there are some excellent players as well that are going to do very well for the club in the future and so it could be any of those but the Under 21 system is set up to bridge that gap between youth and first team football.”

 

“When people are away I try to keep training very consistent and step up young players, so for the likes of Hakeem Odoffin, Aaron Hayden, Ryan Leak and Sylvain Deslandes there’s been opportunities to train with the first team that probably wouldn’t have been available if Iorfa, Hause and Doherty were here.

 

"So it is opportunities for the younger players to play with the experienced players and see exactly where they are in terms of their development.”