Kevin McDonald is preparing for his first local derby as a Wolves player insisting it’s vital to keep that winning feeling.
Wolves host neighbours Walsall in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy tonight aiming for their fifth consecutive victory.
There may be several changes to the regular line-ups tonight before the teams meet again at Molineux in League One on September 17. Wolves are without captain Sam Ricketts and four-goal top scorer Leigh Griffiths, both on international duty, from Saturday’s starting XI which won 3-1 at Port Vale, as well as Lee Evans and Jake Cassidy.
But McDonald believes that whoever is involved for Kenny Jackett’s side this evening, they need to keep their momentum going.
“The fans love a local derby so I’m sure we’ll put on a good show,” said McDonald.
“You tend to find a lot of changes are made for the Johnstone’s Paints Trophy but whoever plays you have to go out and perform.
“Whether you’re in the starting XI or not and whether it’s league or cup, a derby is a derby and whoever plays will go out and give 100 per cent.
“We’ve won four on the bounce now and the manager wants to keep that going.
“He doesn’t want a defeat to break us down – he just wants us to continue winning, which the players do.”
Playmaker McDonald was described as potentially one of the best players in his position in the country when he joined Wolves from Sheffield United for £250,000 recently.
But the lavish praise dished out for the 24-year-old by Wigan boss and McDonald’s old Burnley gaffer Owen Coyle don’t sit heavily on the tall Scot’s shoulders.
“I worked with Owen at Burnley for a couple of years and he helped me a lot with my game,” said the midfielder.
“It’s nice to hear things like that but I will just keep my head down and continue to work hard. I don’t think it adds pressure to me, I just play the same way as I would do if that comment wasn’t made.
“But it’s a bonus for me if people are saying that. I’ll take it in my stride and get on with it.” McDonald marked his full Wolves debut with a goal and man-of-the-match performance in the win at Port Vale.
And he is hoping there is a lot more to come from him.
“I was a bit scrappy in my first five, 10 minutes but, once I got settled on the ball, I felt composed and I was fine,” he said.
“I’ve been here for a couple of weeks and the boys have done well with some good performances, so I was delighted to get my first start.
“It was a scruffy shot – I think it just trickled over the line but any goal is a goal. I enjoyed it.
“It was a tough game from start to finish. They played very direct but I thought our defence was brilliant.”
They say you can judge the quality of a team by the strength of its substitutes.
And McDonald is convinced Wolves have the right blend of youth and experience.
“We’ve got some good young players in the squad and just by looking at the quality of players on the bench, you can see it’s a really good team,” he said.
“The mix of experience and young boys is clicking well just now. We’ve got things we need to improve on but we will do.”