It has been a great fortnight for Wolverhampton Wanderers earning eight points out of the last twelve, but they know that the hard work is far from over in their fight for Premier League survival.
Last time out Wolves earned a draw against an in form Everton side, who have already taken the scalps of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City in recent months. David Moyes’ team will have been left scratching their heads wondering quite how they managed to only come away from Molineux with a point after squandering several chances. But that will not concern Wolves’ manager, Mick McCarthy, who will be delighted after going another point closer towards survival. However, the former Republic of Ireland manager hasn’t shown his delight maintaining that he will wear his poker face until relegation is mathematically impossible.
Things are looking up in the Black Country after the Wanderers have extended their current unbeaten run to four games, which is the longest they have had this season so far. Wolves currently have a five point gap between themselves and the drop zone and it is likely that another six to eight points will see them playing top flight football next season. Marcus Hahnemann had another superb performance between the sticks and made several key saves, including efforts from Leon Osman and Dan Gosling. One would have to question whether or not a certain Fabio Capello, who attended Saturday’s game, would be somewhat envious of the American goalkeeping talent on show ahead of the Anglo-American clash at the World Cup in June. Both Hahnemann and his opposite number Time Howard are expected to be in the USA squad this season and both kept clean sheets in front of the England boss, who currently has his own goalkeeping headache to deal with.
Jody Craddock, Wolves defender, has been a revelation so far this seen for both his defending and for his unexpected goal scoring ability. The 34-year-old has scored five league goals this season and his recent heroics include a goal at Villa Park and a goal-line clearance from a Time Cahill effort. But the experienced defender will not rest on his laurels just yet as it is uncertain how many more points it will take to beat the drop. “I’m not sure how many points we need – maybe six – but Hull winning at the weekend, the gap to safety was cut from seven to five so we just need to pick up as many as we can,” said Craddock. Many pundits, experts and bookies would have written the Midlanders off before the season had even begun, but Craddock believes they have shown great character all season and it has been paying off in recent weeks. He said: “A lot of people thought we were going to go down, and it isn’t over yet. There’s still a long way to go until we’re mathematically safe. We can’t be thinking we’ve got enough points because we haven’t yet. We need to keep doing what we’ve been doing.” Another player who has caught the eye of late is the youngster Michael Mancienne, who is currently on loan from title challenging Chelsea. Mancienne, 22, is currently enjoying his second spell on loan at Wolves after first meeting up with the squad back in October 2008.
After a few impressive displays this season, particularly in the defensive midfield position, the club are looking into the possibility of extending the versatile Mancienne’s stay in the West Midlands. Keeping hold of such a promising young talent would be a huge boost for Wolves and the England Under 21 international has intimated that he would be happy to stay at the club. His manager, McCarthy, is keen on the youngster and hopes that talks are held before the end of the current season. The Wolves manager said that his club will definitely look into the possibility of re-signing the player and will not let him slip away without approaching Chelsea. McCarthy said: “We won’t just let the season end without speaking to Chelsea or Michael – whether we say ‘Thanks and good luck’ or if we’d like to do something else.” Of course, Wolves will stand a better chance of acquiring such talent if they are to remain in the Premier League for an additional season and will focus their efforts on the task in hand.