It has been a terrific turnaround by Wolverhampton Wanderers since Kenny Jackett took over in 2013.
Jackett went into the job with Wolves just having been relegated for the second time in two seasons to League One. Many thought it was a brave decision bearing in mind Millwall were still in the Championship but Jackett knew that with the right resources the club could be back challenging for a Premier League place.
And that is exactly what has happened so far. After dominating League One and winning the league with 103 points, Wolves have got themselves to 8th in the Championship. After a five match losing streak, Wanderers are now on a six match unbeaten run of their own which has put them within one point of a play-off position. It looks as though they have the players, manager and belief to secure a top six finish and complete a whirlwind past three or four years for the club.
It wasn’t long ago that Wolves were starting to establish themselves as a Premier League club. promotion in 2009 was followed by three seasons in the top flight. After two seasons of successfully avoiding relegation – narrowly so in 2011 – their third year back amongst England’s elite turned out to be a disaster.
Money was spent on the likes of Jamie O’Hara and Roger Johnson, who at the time were thought to be fantastic signings for the club. Sacking Mick McCarthy in February after a 5-1 defeat to fierce rivals West Brom proved to be a horrible mistake that cost them further relegation the following season. His assistant Terry Connor took over but he failed to win any of his 13 matches in charge as Wolves finished rock bottom with just 25 points.
With high-earners still at the club playing with little passion, the 2012/13 was another disastrous season resulting in relegation. Dean Saunders took over from Stale Solbakken mid-way through the season but he couldn’t stop an inevitable second relegation in as many years.
But fast forward two years and Wolves are seemingly on the right track of righting the wrongs from the past couple of seasons. Jackett has done a good job in getting rid of all the dead wood from the squad, injecting a more young and vibrant feel to his team. This is demonstrated none more so that the addition of 19-year-old defenders Kortney Hause and Dominic Iorfa.
These two youngsters have impressed since coming into the team around a month ago and have been part of the reason why Wolves have looked tighter at the back and more exciting going forward. With one of the best goalkeepers in the league, Carl Ikeme and the centre back paring Richard Stearman and Danny Batth, the back-line is looking extremely efficient.
Going forward, Bakary Sakho is continuing to be one of, if not the, best player at the club. His 12 goals from midfield last season helped the club storm League One and he has continued his goalscoring form this season. Sakho is the club’s top scorer with seven goals and he possess great pace that makes him an attacking threat in wide areas.
Then upfront is Frenchman Nouha Dicko, who signed from Wigan a year ago. His 13 goals in just 19 matches last term went along way in securing promotion. This season he has also looked a threat with five goals to his name, and with the addition of Benik Afobe Wolves looked to have excellent options in attack.
With a young, efficient team assembled by Kenny Jackett, there is every chance of a top six finish come May and an opportunity to play Premier League football once more.