Collins | On fighting back, creating chances and players returning

Although Wolves under-23s fought from behind to earn a point against Middlesbrough, head coach James Collins was left frustrated after his side passed up several good chances to win the tie.

In an entertaining game between two sides aiming for a spot in the Premier League 2 Division 2 play-offs come the end of the season, Nigel Lonwijk’s second-half strike got Wolves back into the contest, and Collins was pleased with the spirit his players showed despite their lack of finishing touch in front of goal.

On settling for a point

“There’s frustration because we haven’t won the game, but I thought, yet again, we played some really good football. We showed real bravery in possession, played the system very well and I thought we created more chances, and we really should have won the game.

“I suppose it’s frustrating that we’re not taking them and winning the game, but you can’t ask any more of the players for the way they played to the system and playing how we want them to play. We just need to take our chances when they fall to us.

“I thoroughly enjoyed watching us play. I said to the lads in the dressing room that I do this job to develop footballers and sometimes you can leave frustrated, but I thought that was great. We had some good players on the pitch, and I thought the attitude, spirit and togetherness showed that we really are one pack.”

On creating chances

“We were playing well in our system, and you often wonder with this system if you are going to get enough bodies forward and create enough.

“But we showed signs that we were doing it, in the second-half especially, we were getting right on top for a spell before we scored and probably had two or three really good chances, and even one or two after we scored as well.

“But they had some really good attacking chances as well and both keepers made some saves, Joe Young in his first proper game for a while. I thought it was a really good under-23 game, there were some good players on the pitch and it was a good one to watch.”

On Young’s first start of the season

“Joe’s been really patient, I have to say. It’s not easy being a ‘number two’, but that’s the world of goalkeepers.

“You can sit on the bench for the majority of the season, and train every day but not play. You have to be ready for that and you have to get used to it, and he’s done that.

“He’s trained properly, he’s taken his chance, he did well when he came on last week and again today he made some really good saves and he can be really enthused about his contribution. Hopefully that kicks him on.”

On the return of Marques and Perry

“It’s just nice to see them back. Christian looks like he’s grown physically; the sports science and medical team have done terrific work with him, he looks more of a ‘man’ now than he was eight or nine weeks ago.

“We never doubt his ability on the ball, but he needed to develop physically and the injury and time off has allowed him to do that and he looks great.

“I felt today, at whatever point we had players out on the pitch, we could play a really good brand of football, then when you can bring subs on like Christian and TP, you’re not weakening the side, you’re strengthening it. It’s nice to get them back.”

On an important point for the play-off push

“The boys were talking about being a few point ahead with a game in hand, so if they were to get a win they’d have been level, so this point gives us a little bit of breathing space, so the boys are pleased with that.

“It would’ve been nice to win, but it’s not easy to come away to places like this, on a difficult pitch, against a really good team – one of the best we’ve played this season. To take a point and play well, is very pleasing.”