Keeper looks ahead to Reading curtain-raiser
Carl Ikeme has called for Wolves to get their home campaign off to a positive start against Reading tomorrow, and improve their Molienux record from last season,
Wolves only won seven of their 23 home league fixtures last season, and while Tuesday’s EFL Cup win against Crawley made it eight unbeaten on home soil, four of those games were draws.
“We want to get off the mark with a win and get the fans behind us,” says the keeper.
“It is important we show the same desire as the Rotherham game but with a better result.
“We want to play more free flowing football, express ourselves, and get our first league win.
“If we can get that on Saturday it sets up Tuesday night and the derby with Blues.
“We weren’t great at home last year in all honesty.
“There were a lot of draws towards the end.
“We need to be better at home this season and make Molineux a fortress.
“It can be a tough place for away teams when we are playing well and the crowd get going.
“And we want to keep that unbeaten run for as long as we can.
“We have back to back games at home and then the derby game and staying unbeaten through those would set us up nicely.”
Ikeme says there is certainly nothing wrong with the spirit and resolve within the Wolves dressing room, as was shown in last weekend’s comeback to grab a point at Rotherham, despite being reduced to ten men.
And he says the more the players work with new Head Coach Walter Zenga, the better the team will get.
“The first half hour at Rotherham a struggle,” Ikeme recalls.
“After 30 minutes everyone thought the game was dead but we didn’t stop.
“In the second half, even with ten men we played some good football.
“The comeback showed the spirit in the team, because when Dom (Iorfa) was set off everyone probably thought the game was over.
“But we never stopped, ad probably played even better.
“It shows what we are willing to do for each other – to run and fight and give our all, and we could have won the game in the end.”
Ikeme continued: “We are starting to adjust to what the gaffer wants.
“He has only been here ten days but we are getting to grips with how he wants us to play and there is more to come from us.
“With Kenny (Jackett) going on the Friday and Walter coming in on the Saturday it was all a bit of a whirlwind.
“And he only had five days with us to prepare for the first league game.
“It’s not like he could try anything in pre-season, we wanted to pick up results straightaway.
“We are all tuning into the gaffer and we are enthusiastic about his ideas.
“It may just take time because we can’t be the finished article after ten days but will hopefully find that solidity and form sooner rather than later.
“Managers do come and go – I thought Kenny did a great job and now I’m really looking forward to working with Walter.
“I know he is a former goalkeeper as well but that hasn’t been mentioned much so far.
“Credit to him, he is the gaffer and he lets Pat (Mountain) do his job as goalkeeping coach.
“Maybe he will give me some pointers but he has to manage the whole team, not just the goalkeepers!
“I am sure he will tell us some stories about his Inter Milan days, but for the moment he is not heavy on the goalkeeers – he wants to manage the whole team which is the most important thing.”
And what Ikeme says is shared between staff and players, indeed long-serving players and new signings, is the ambition to try and reach the Premier League.
“We have got a lot of player that were here last year – young players with a year’s more experience,” he added.
“They will flourish throughout the season.
“We showed a lot of steel at the end of last season, there were a lot of draws which we didn’t want but we were keeping the ball out of the net and making last ditch challenges.
“We just want to try and keep that resolve and add some quality and then go a bit further.
“Everyone is excited about what is going on with the takeover, and everyone wants to be in the Premier League.
“We all want the same goal, and hopefully in the next few seasons we can get there.”
We are all tuning into the gaffer and we are enthusiastic about his ideas