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‘Wolves way’ approach will remain, says Kennedy

Caretaker head coach Mark Kennedy insists the under-23's approach to matches will not change as he prepares for his first match at the helm of the development side following the departure of Rob Edwards last week.

The former Wolves winger has been working with the under-23s in recent weeks and will take temporary charge of the team while the search for a permanent replacement for Edwards – who has recently taken up a coaching role with the FA – is found.

Kennedy believes there will not be major differences while the squad is under his care, as he aims to continue the philosophy and successful work the under-23s have been carrying out in recent seasons which culminated in promotion to Premier League 2 Division 1.

The young Wolves side face their first test under their new manager this evening when they travel to Derby County for a Premier League Cup clash at Pride Park from 7pm.

On taking temporary charge of the under-23s

“The approach to it is very easy actually, continuing the great work that Rob has done will be hard, but I’m really looking forwards to that.

“When I say the approach is very easy, the reason I say that is because all we want to do, whether that’s myself or whoever the coach of the team is during the rest of the season, is continue the ‘Wolves way’ of doing things.

“If we can continue that and hopefully take it on to another level, if we can come to Scott [Sellars] with different ideas and the manager [Nuno] with ideas that will enhance the programme and structure from what we are doing – that’s great.

“But there is already a fantastic structure and environment set in place throughout the club. All we’re trying to do as coaches is continue that.”

On differences between Rob Edwards and him

“Yesterday we had our match prep day for our game tonight. Nothing has actually changed from when Rob did his match prep for Morecambe. I was involved at Carlisle, Man City, Arsenal and Morecambe, so it’s a continuation – the same type of sessions.

“The principles of what we’re trying to get across, of how we do it, are very similar and the same thing, there’s just a different coach, a different voice and a face behind that. Rob is not me, I’m not Scott Sellars, we’re all different people but we’re all trying to get the same messages across.

“If these guys are ready to go and play for the manager or when he asks for them to move up to the first-team training, something he’s very good at every day in training, the manager will take several players from the under-23s up to the first-team – it’s our job to make sure that when they go up they are prepared as well as they can be and that they have a good understanding of what’s coming.

“The approach has been quite smooth because I’ve had the chance to watch Rob closely for the past couple of weeks and have been at the club for several months, so that should be very smooth, but the most important thing is the end product and what it looks like on the pitch.”

On embracing the Academy programme

“It’s a continuation of what the guys are doing, what the Academy are looking at achieving and creating in terms of what the player looks like, what the programme looks like.

“There’s huge flexibility within it because we want players who can think for themselves – we want problem solvers, we don’t want to create robots. It’s a very fluid programme and lots of creativity with individual thinking and learning. But that is all done within a ‘Wolves way’.

“The difficulty is what it looks like on a game day and that is what we’ll find out going forward.”

On competing across four competitions

“When you look at Premier League 2 there are some great challenges, but ultimately there are only 22 games. If it was just that, you’d have a major problem, but there’s actually four big competitions we’re playing in.

“I was looking at the games programme last night, going over some things, and in November during the space of eight days we have games against PSG, Chelsea and Athletic Club Bilbao. We’ve also got Liverpool coming up, which are some amazing games.

“We’ve also got a game tonight – a cup game in which you’re trying to gain points and make it to the next level, there’s things at stake, it’s at Pride Park, you’re playing against a fantastic opposition, so all these things are fantastic for the lads.

“The Leasing.com Trophy sees the lads play against real opposition, real first-team players and although the crowds aren’t exactly huge, it’s a fantastic challenge, especially with all the games being away. You have to go away to Carlisle, you have to go away to Morecambe, we’re going to have to go away to Blackpool, who are doing really well in League One.

“It’s a busy period, but a great opportunity to maximise the squad and give everybody minutes on the pitch. We never take anything lightly, but it’s about giving everybody game time and say to them ‘show us what you’ve got’.

“Players can do it Monday to Friday in training, but go and show it on a Saturday because, ultimately, that is what matters and that’s where they’re going to be in the future.”

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