Wolves head coach Kenny Jackett today admitted he is in a dilemma over George Elokobi’s future.
Elokobi endured a difficult first 45 minutes before being withdrawn at half-time of Tuesday’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy second-round penalties exit against Notts County.
The 27-year-old left-back has picked up injuries in his two previous outings this season and is struggling to recapture the form that made him a regular in Wolves’ Premier League team of 2010-11.
And Jackett admitted it’s a delicate balancing act between getting Elokobi match-fit so he can be ready to play and not adversely affecting the team’s performance.
“Unfortunately it’s a chicken and egg situation at the moment,” said Jackett.
“He needs games to produce his best form but injuries have stopped him doing that.
“When that builds up as it did for up to two seasons you have sympathy for someone who’s a very decent guy and a very good professional.
“It’s always a balance between the two – what the individual needs and the cover and competition for the club in a very important season.
“As well as looking at any one individual player, we have to look after the club in terms of what’s a very important season.
“We need a squad ready and available and working towards those first-team games.”
Jackett admitted Elokobi was taken off as a tactical decision.
“In the first half our full backs had been pinned back and we didn’t have any movement and Scott Golbourne is particularly good at doing that from left-back,” he said.
“Unfortunately George had to be sacrificed to get a better performance.”
Elokobi could be allowed out on loan but Jackett will assess the fitness of the players who return from international duty next week.
“We’ll see. It’s early to think about that when we have a number of players away on international duty,” he said.
“We need to get through to the middle of next week.”
Jackett believes Elokobi must continue to work in the development team to recapture his sharpness.
“He has to keep working as hard as he does because he’s a very diligent professional, keep training and play as many Under-21 games as he can and see what happens,” he said.
Wolves have handed Coventry City an extra 850 tickets for next Saturday’s game – meaning potentially the highest away following since ‘pie and a pint’-gate when Albion fans were given the South Bank for an FA Cup tie in 2007.
Sky Blues fans have already snapped up 2,500 tickets, and, after rejecting an initial request, Wolves released an extra allocation.