Mark Davies can’t wait for his latest return to Wolves, according to his old mate Carl Ikeme.
The Bolton midfielder and one-time Wolves academy protege comes back to Molineux tonight hoping to impress Trotters manager-in-waiting Dougie Freedman. Davies won a controversial penalty scored by Martin Petrov on Bolton’s last visit in March in an incident-packed game which saw Wayne Hennessey and Roger Johnson square up together in a match which ended in a 3-2 defeat for Wolves after they had led.
Ikeme believes the spot-kick will be remembered by Wolves fans, and the goalkeeper, who is a long-time friend of Davies after their time coming through the ranks at Molineux, reckons the midfielder could be in for a rough ride from his former supporters.
“I spoke to him last week and he’s looking forward to it,” said Ikeme.
“It will be interesting to see what reception he gets! I wasn’t there when he won that penalty last time, but he’s a good player.
“They’ve got a lot of good players so it will be a tough game.”
Davies might be in the Championship now but he was linked with a move to Swansea when Brendan Rodgers was there before his summer switch to Liverpool.
And, having spent three-and-a-half years in the Premier League, Ikeme believes the 24-year-old belongs in the big time.
“I remember him at 14 – he was always going to be a top player,” said Ikeme. “He started at Wolves but it didn’t really work out for him here.
“Fair play to him, though, he has kicked his career on.”
Bolton’s indifferent start cost Owen Coyle his job but the quality and size of their squad suggests they are well capable of improving on their current position of 16th.
Ikeme believes they present a huge test as Wolves look to return to winning ways after Saturday’s 2-1 defeat at Huddersfield.
“It could work for them or against them being without a manager,” said the keeper. “But they’ve got good players so it will be a tough game whoever’s in charge. They’re professionals and they’re going to want to win.”
Tonight’s game is the first of two home matches this week for Wolves with Charlton the visitors on Saturday. And Ikeme is looking for the home double-header to bounce back.
“Thankfully, with the Championship, there’s always another game pretty quickly and roll on Bolton so we can put Saturday’s result right,” he said. “Hopefully we can put that defeat behind us because we know we could have done better.”
Ikeme missed out on a part in a piece of club history at Huddersfield after Wolves failed to win with a clean sheet and he admitted he feared the worst after being told of the stat the day before the game.
“I wish I hadn’t been told about that!” he said. “Pat Mountain (goalkeeping coach) mentioned it on Friday and I said ‘thanks for that!’”
The keeper believes Wolves’ poor first-half performance gave them too much to do at Town.
“We defended well, generally, and we just didn’t play great stuff in the first half,” he said. “As a team, we didn’t play as well as we can. It took us too long to get into the game.
“They got the goals and it gave us too big a mountain to climb.
“In the end, we scored a goal but we just couldn’t get another.
“We hit the post and we probably should have had a penalty. Maybe on another day, we would have got back into it. It’s just a matter of going into the next game now.”
and thinking about what we could have done better and move on.”
Huddersfield’s second goal was a stunning volley from Jermaine Beckford and Ikeme admitted he never saw it.
“It was a great strike – he caught it well and I can’t even remember seeing it!” he said.
“I knew he hit it well and I turned around and knew it was in the net.
“The first one was a good header from a really good ball into the box.
“We picked up in the second half and we could have ended up winning it.”