Wolves head coach Kenny Jackett today insisted he is looking forward to seeing Kevin Doyle to continue his promising return.
Jackett doesn’t yet know if the one-time £6.5m club-record signing will still be at Molineux after the transfer deadline at 11am on September 2. Swansea are the latest club to be linked with the Ireland international after Celtic failed to agree a fee for him, although Wolves insist there has been no contact from the Swans.
But Jackett is happy to continue playing Doyle after the Ireland international’s superb contribution in Saturday’s 2-1 win at Bristol City to continue Wolves’ unbeaten start to the campaign in League One.
Doyle won the free-kick for Bakary Sako’s opening goal then forced defender Aden Flint to get the final touch for Matt Doherty’s winner.
“He’s shown a really good attitude and no little quality on Saturday,” said Jackett.
“A performance like that warranted a goal, but the keeper pulled off a terrific save. We hope he can continue building on that now and contribute like he did on Saturday.”
Asked if the 29-year-old striker is in the mood to stay, Jackett added: “We’ll see.
“I can only talk about what I see. And after a stop-start pre-season, he’s come back into the side and had three good performances now.
“He’s built up his match fitness – the first game he had 35 minutes, then 60 then 87 on Saturday.”
Jackett is open-minded about Doyle’s future and the possible need to recruit a replacement at short notice.
“Unfortunately it’s something I can’t shed any light on,” he said. “He’d be difficult to replace, but sometimes that’s the test in management.
“After coming down two levels in two years, which is very unusual, it’s up to us to piece things together with those that want to play and separate the ones that don’t, along with ones that come in fresh.”
Meanwhile, Jackett challenged Richard Stearman to bounce back from his error at the weekend. The defender’s mistake let in Sam Baldock to cross for Jay Emmanuel-Thomas to equalise before Doherty’s winner spared his blushes.
Jackett said: “It was a poor mistake, but it came after some good performances because he’s done well.
“I’m pleased the mistake didn’t cost us. He has to get over it and the fact it didn’t cost us will help.”
Jackett is happy with the make-up of his back five, which hasn’t changed in the three league games so far.
“It’s a good balance at the back with Sam Ricketts, Stearman at 26 who should be getting to his peak now, and Matt Doherty and Danny Batth at the other end of the scale,” he said.
“It’s quite a well balanced back four in terms of experience and with a keeper Carl Ikeme at 27 behind them there is a good mix in there.”
Jackett also urged Jake Cassidy to put his miss behind him after his lobbed over an open goal at the death.
“Cassidy has to keep his head up – all centre-forwards go through unbelievable misses and he has to get over that and put it behind him,” he said.
“He took it around the keeper and it’s still not easy to miss from there but he’ll have been disappointed.”