Connor struggling to preserve Wolves Premier League status after Blackburn defeat
Wolverhampton Wanderers hopes of Premier League survival took a big dent on Saturday when the Midlands side lost at home to fellow strugglers Blackburn Rovers, condemned by two Junior Hoilett goals as Terry Connor’s tenure at Molineux continued to struggle along.
Since replacing Mick McCarthy on February 24 Connor has overseen a 2-2 draw with Newcastle United in which Wolves went two goals down, a 5-0 defeat at the hands of Fulham and now the 2-0 reverse against Blackburn. With the BBC reporting a number of discontented Wolves supporters staged a protest against the handling of Connor’s appointment and captain Roger Johnson fined for attending training in an unfit state according to the Independent, it appears Wolves’ problems extend further than the dire situation the league table indicates.
The loss to Blackburn left Wolves in 19th place having played a game more than bottom of the division Wigan Athletic and only two points better off. It is not inconceivable that Wigan, who play Norwich City at Carrow Road on Sunday, will end the weekend above Wolves, leaving Wanderers propping up the table. And with Bolton Wanderers also victorious over Queens Park Rangers, who occupy the last relegation spot, the sides out of trouble have picked up points in crucial meetings with their fellow stragglers. Blackburn have moved to 16th with 25 points and Bolton are 17th on 23, respectively three points and one point better off than Wolves.
If the Wolves hierarchy were expecting a boost in performance or points from changing the manager, it is safe to say it has not yet arrived. With 10 games to play Wolves are running out of time to see a change in fortunes. Two of their remaining games of March will do much to determine in which division Wolves’ future lies. After playing Manchester United next weekend, on March 24 Wolves travel to Norwich, a match that Wolves in their current form may not be expected to take anything from, and then a week later Bolton travel to the Black Country. A surprise point or three from Norwich and a win over Owen Coyle’s side would transform Wolves’ late season and give the club a platform on which to re-build their survival chase.
Much was made of the difference between the appointment of Connor at Wolves and that of Marks Hughes at QPR. Neil Warnock was dispensed with at Loftus Road and Hughes was immediately linked to the post by the the Daily Telegraph. Connors was only appointed, according to the BBC, after Walter Smith, Alan Curbishley and Brian McDermott turned down the position. With QPR apparently targeting Hughes before Warnock was removed, the comparison is made to Wolves not having a certain candidate in mind. But QPR are no better off than Wolves in the last three games Connor has been in charge, also taking only a single point. With Bolton still to visit Molineux and QPR showing little sign of an upturn in form under Hughes all is not lost for Wolves, but Connor has to justify the faith shown in him by his employers soon.
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