Gaffer on Blackburn/recent form/Price/McDonald/Le Fondre
Wolves Head Coach Kenny Jackett has encouraged his team to show the same level of performance that they showed in Tuesday’s 2-1 away victory at MK Dons, when Blackburn Rovers visit Molineux tomorrow (3pm).
Goals from George Saville and Jack Price overturned a 1-0 half-time deficit, before the side showed plenty of resolve to see out the game.
And that left the Head Coach delighted with the performance.
He said: “The motivation in our group is good, our players want to win, they want to play and they want to do well for the club.
“So the group is a motivated group and the players will continue that throughout the last half a dozen games and for myself as the Head Coach I want to give the supporters optimism for the future.
“Of late some of the games we’ve battled through to get draws and we’ve been up against it and that’s a quality and a credit to the players defensively.
“We’ve done well and it’s been hard to score to many against us, which I’ve been very pleased with.
“And I want to try and build on that and see if we can get the type of attacking performance we got in the second half at MK Dons - be creative, open sides up and get the goals that can get us the wins and create that optimism for the future.”
The motivation displayed by the team has been evident in their unbeaten run, which now stands at five matches, and shows that like Jackett, the players are determined to end the season on a good note.
Jackett said: “We want to continue to improve and we’re pleased that at the moment there’s a good spirit and character within the players and a determination that if we don’t win then not to lose and then to battle and to scrap.
“I think those qualities are there and that’s a good thing.
“There seems like there is good legs in the team and we’d love and like to have more pace on our front line to be able to get in behind but that’s something we’re consistently working on.”
Goal scorer Price is one of those players providing ‘legs’ in the midfield and Jackett has been delighted with his contribution.
He said: “He’s playing well and developing nicely is Jack, and he has the ability to step on and be even better.
“We do feel his set-piece delivery at times is very good and that’s something he can add to his game.
“And also there are shots, there are goals, he is capable.
“He’s had a good strike against Burnley a couple of weeks ago and then he’s got one at MK Dons, so it is something he’s capable of and is progressing and that’s a good moment for him and it’s pleasing that it got us the win the other night.”
The excellent form of Price, Saville and Conor Coady has meant that there has been no place in the starting XI for Kevin McDonald in recent games, though Jackett insists that the Scottish International remains very much in his plans.
“Kevin’s fully fit and is available for selection and training hard,” said Jackett, who was pleased that when McDonald wasn’t selected for Tuesday’s squad he asked himself to be allowed to train with the Academy.
“I’ve just selected different permutations in midfield - Price’s form, Saville, Coady and then [Dave] Edwards coming back have been my preference in the last couple of games and I knew on Tuesday night I would need an attacking bench and decided to go for that so that left Kevin out.
“For the vast majority of my time here I’ve picked Kevin, but at the moment I’m looking at other options in midfield.
“As for people asking will he get in, it very much depends on the form of the midfield players and how they progress and also how the team shapes up, and how creative the team shapes up going forward.
“He’s definitely part of the first team group, his attitude’s been fine, he’s trained and his work has been fine and it’s just been my decision not to select him of late and go for other options in midfield.”
Blackburn head into Molineux on a run of one win in their last five matches and currently sit in 16th position of the SkyBet Championship. But despite their current run, Jackett is not taking them lightly.
He said: “They’re just below us in the league and have a good squad of players and have a manager with a fantastic pedigree, who has got Norwich out of this division before and knows what it takes to be successful at Championship level.
“For us we’ll pay our opposition every respect and we want to put on a good show for our supporters.
“We want to show grit, determination and, wherever we can flair and creativity, and really try to build on that second half performance at MK Dons.
“Because we really feel that we had both, came out and dominated the game, got the goals and played well. “
Jackett will be forced into at least one change to the XI that started the MK Dons match, following the cruel injury suffered by Polish International Michal Zyro.
Adam Le Fondre replaced Zyro, and staked a claim for a starting berth against Blackburn with an impressive performance, linking up well with Joe Mason and James Henry.
Jackett said: “I was pleased with Le Fondre when he came on, and in both of the last two substitute appearances for him where he’s come on alongside Mason.
“I’ve seen some enthusiasm, some link play and some creativity in the pair of them, and a good willingness to work hard as well. So it’ll be interesting how they can develop.”
Meanwhile Mike Williamson will once again miss out as he continues his recovery from a glute problem.
Williamson has yet to feature since he signing permanently from Newcastle United in January, and while both he and the club are frustrated at not being able to play, Jackett is refusing to rule out Williamson returning to action before the season’s end.
He said: “He’s getting up to a point around about 80-90% and then can’t quite get through it. And he’s going back to square one continually.
“We feel then that in a week or two we can turn that around, but he’s continually hitting the same problem. They’re trying to look at it from a different angle and scan it different and send it to somebody different to try and find the problem that’s stopping him finding that 10/20% that’s stopping him from being able to run and play football.”