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Lively One For Keeper

Ikeme has confidence in Wolves' strength in depth

The delight of a penalty save, pain of conceding an injury time equaliser, and relief at executing a fully fledged Cruyff Turn on his boyhood mate – Saturday proved a fairly lively day at the office for Carl Ikeme.

But at the end of it all, even amid the disappointment of taking one point rather than three against Burton Albion, the popular keeper believes there are positive signs at Wolves this season not least with the team’s strength in depth.

And that is what he hopes will be taken into tonight’s clash with highflying Barnsley (7.45pm).

“We have got a lot of lads who have arrived who have not played in the league,” says Ikeme.

“We need them to adjust but they are all quality players and they will adjust.

“We have got a big squad now and the gaffer wants to keep everyone involved so I think we will see a lot of rotation and everyone will feel they are close to playing.

“With the amount of games there are in the league he wants fresh players all the time.

“It is probably in stark contrast to what we had last season and even the season before.

“There was the chance to bring people like Jon (Dadi Bodvarsson) and Mase (Joe Mason) off the bench who can change the game.

“Previously we have had a good starting eleven but maybe not impact players who can come on and make a difference from the bench.

“We have got that now, and I think everyone is going to be involved and that is what the gaffer wants.

“It is going to be tough for him, leaving four or five players out of the squad completely, but it bodes well for competition and we have not had that for a while.”

And going back to the Burton game, and the agony of the last gasp leveller?

“I think it was one of those,  they were always going to get a chance and it fell in the last minute,” says Ikeme.

“Maybe we need to be a bit more street-smart and see the game out because it really was two points dropped.

“We have analysed the goal conceded but my overall feeling is we have to be more street-smart and see the game out.

“It should have been three points, and we all felt like we had lost.

“Burton have just come up but they are a good side.

“They have got good players, especially when you look at their attacking side.

Lloyd Dyer, Jamie Ward, Chris O’Grady, Akins – they have all played at a good level.

“We knew that they have had the most entries in the opposition box in the season and we just couldn’t close them out for the full game.

“Maybe we had a few chances to kill the game off as well.

“That is football, and we are all disappointed after the game but know we have another one against Barnsley coming up and a chance to put things right.”

Ikeme did at least produce a fine penalty save to block Akins’ effort, and keep the score goalless during the first half.

“It might have been difficult if they had scored the penalty,” he says.

“Especially with their system it would have been even tougher to break them down.

“It’s about time I chose the right way!

“Having chosen the right way I’d have been disappointed not to have saved it.

“I was buzzing afterwards, it’s the only chance I get to feel like I have scored a goal!

“I was delighted at the time but then it seems a long time ago when you concede a goal in injury time which costs you the three points.”

The penalty save he would love to repeat.

The Cruyff Turn, executed in front of an appreciative South Bank, perhaps not so.

 “I didn’t actually think about doing it, it just kind of happened,” he recalls.

“It must be the Power League in me!

“It’s not the sort of thing I’ll do again and I don’t practice it – was just spur of the moment!

“I grew up with Jamie Ward and know him well so it was good to do it to him!

“Hopefully I won’t have to try and pull that one out again but it happened without even thinking about it.

“I was delighted to get away with it, and delighted it was on Jamie!”