Heading to Fulham on Friday evening, Wolves under-23 head coach James Collins is preparing to rotate his pack during what is a busy schedule for his side.
Wolves go into the game off the back of their largest defeat of the season, having fallen to a heavy 5-0 loss to Norwich City on Monday, but just four days later, Collins’ side have a chance for redemption when they face the Premier League 2 Division 2 leaders.
On a busy schedule of games
“Most of the players are fit, but we’ve got four games in 13 days. With Hugo [Bueno], he’s had a hamstring and has only just got back, Tippo’s [Ollie Tipton] coming back from an injury so will play those four games, but to try and win games, we’re not going to put players out on the pitch and break them
“What we’ve had to do over these last two games and the next two, is juggle the team around a little bit. That maybe means we’re not putting our strongest team out onto the pitch each game, and hopefully they’re competitive – but it certainly wasn’t [against Norwich].
“On paper it should have been competitive, but that shows it was the performance as oppose to the selection, but they’ll be changes again on Friday as there is also the Youth Cup game the account for next week.
“We’ll select the team on merit, but also try to look after them as well.”
On a heavy loss at home to the Canaries
“It was a well deserved defeat. I thought they were too much for us. The front three for them were exceptional. We knew they were good because they’ve had a lot of games recently where they’ve scored three or four, so they’re good for this league.
“But the disappointing thing is that they were open as well, and we could have caused them more problems than we did, but we’ve got to defend better than we did.
“It’s not a good recipe for success if you defend poorly and you attack poorly, and that’s what we did.
“It’s a good lesson for them, a good lesson to see where some of them are, and we’ve got a good opportunity on Friday to go to Fulham, who are clear at the top of the league, and see if we can respond to that.”
On struggling at both ends of the pitch
“The frustrating thing for me was that we prepared for exactly how the game was. We knew their front three were their threat. We knew that if we held a good shape and were hard to get through, they might have a little bit of the ball at the back, but that would protect us.
“I thought we’d stop them, they’d give us the ball and we’d have some really good chances on the counter-attack – and that was exactly how it was.
“But they go through us too easily in that shape and then when you’re two down, you have to make some changes because you have to get the ball back.
“Once we opened up against them, we probably looked a threat, but they looked even more of a threat and, in the end, how we approached the first 20 minutes of the game has cost us a beating.”
On a tough lesson for his players
“I say this most weeks, but whether we win, lose or draw, it doesn’t decide whether you get players in the first-team or it doesn’t decide a career, but they have to learn quickly.
“It’s a tough school. They’re about to go into a first-team environment where the scorelines matter and I thought today we looked like Academy kids who were finding the game tough.
“A lot of first-teams find games like this where they find it tough, but they dig in, respond, and find a way back into the game, or at least keep the game at a reasonable scoreline, but we didn’t do that.
“We looked like Academy kids out there, which some of them are, but they’ve got to learn quickly because if they want to get into a first-team environment, that’s what they’ve got to do.”