Striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake was today challenged to give Wolves ‘six of the best’ to beat the drop and justify keeping him in January.
The powerful forward, who is out of contract at the end of the season, heads to Nottingham Forest on Saturday having produced a Man of the Match performance in Tuesday’s 2-0 welcome win at Millwall.
Ebanks-Blake set up David Edwards for the first goal before smashing his 12th and best strike of the season with a superb overhead kick to tame the Lions.
And manager Dean Saunders has laid down the marker for the 26-year-old in the final 10 games after turning down a £1m bid for him from Crystal Palace in the January transfer window.
“If he scores five or six goals between now and the end of the season he will have done his job,” said Saunders. “Some of them will be match-winners like Tuesday night.
“It was instinctive and a great goal. You can’t teach strikers that – you can tell them where to run and what runs to make, but they can work out where the ball is going before everyone else.
“That’s why you have to pay a lot of money for them.”
Ebanks-Blake almost didn’t play on Tuesday because of ongoing niggles to his hamstring, groins and back.
“Sylvan was struggling with his groin on the morning of the game, so I wasn’t sure if he was going to be fit or not,” said Saunders.
“I haven’t started him in every game because of his groins, his hamstrings and his back, so we’re easing him through training. He’s got a ‘glass back’ and I’m surprised he didn’t get carried off after scoring!”
Saunders was also impressed with Ebanks-Blake’s overall workrate for the team after he shouldered much of the responsibility for forward play alongside 20-year-old rookie Jake Cassidy.
“I thought he did brilliantly all the way through – for the first 15-20 minutes, the ball just stuck with him,” said the boss. “He was getting to the ball first – as was Jake – and that’s why we were on top of them.”