Kenny Jackett said from the off that he would assess Wolves’ start after 10 games – and they face Coventry on Saturday buoyed by their best opening in 64 years.
Jackett’s side have made the second-best start in the club’s history by winning eight and drawing one of their first 10 league games – albeit at third-tier level. Only Stan Cullis’s men of 1949-50, who were pipped to the League title by Portsmouth on goal average that season, have bettered it, winning eight and drawing two in the same period.
This season’s results better Cullis’ next best start of 1962-63 and Dave Jones’ 2001-02 side, who both won seven and drew three only to finish fifth and third respectively.
In the 12 seasons Wolves either won a title or were promoted, the team’s best starts were made by Cullis’ League champions of 1957-58 and Mick McCarthy’s 2008-09 Championship winners, both with seven wins and a draw from their first 10 matches.
And after two seasons of relegation that saw Wolves concede 151 times, Jackett must be comforted by the goals against tally.
It stands at just six – the second-best in Molineux history at this stage after Graham Hawkins’s 1982-83 Second Division promotion winners, who had been breached just four times after 10 games.
Despite their record-challenging start, Wolves remain third in League One, four points behind leaders Leyton Orient and three adrift of second-placed Peterborough.
Both kept the pressure on with wins last Saturday, 2-1 at home to MK Dons and 1-0 at Port Vale respectively, when Jackett’s men had the weekend off due to international call-ups.
Jackett is just relieved to be so close to the pacesetters after a summer of change which saw more than 20 players depart and just four arrive.
“I’m pleased we’re within touching distance and every option is available to us,” said the head coach.
“After 10 games, we couldn’t have got promoted but we could have been out of it so I’m pleased to say we’re in there competing, which is good.
“There are some good signs for us going forwards and some things we need to improve on.
“It’s very important we identify those correctly internally and make the right decisions and work very hard to continue to improve.
“When you’re looking at the division and you see clubs the size of Sheffield United and Bristol City in the bottom two, the points difference already from the top two suggests it’s looking towards another season (before they can get promoted).”
Jackett said from the start he would take stock after 10 games and believes the team has evolved over that time.
“We’ve tried plenty of people in different positions: Take Bjorn Sigurdarson for example,” he said.
“He’s played in a 4-3-3, a 4-4-2 wide and as a centre-forward or one of two up front.
“Is he the type of player who plays up front on his own?
“Some people are best that way. If you look at Bjorn, he’s made a very good impact from the bench without being entirely convincing when he’s started.
“But he’s a good player with a good future who works very hard in training and will come good and be a very good player for the club.
“It’s similar to Leigh Griffiths, who played all last season as a centre-forward on his own and scored a lot of goals in that position.
“Kevin Doyle is a player who seems to be able to link people together, and when he’s not around, the transition up the field isn’t quite as smooth – it tends to be a bit ‘back to front’.
“We’ve seen the emergence of Jack Price in front of the back four as being what we hope is some potential for the future.
“We have four from five defenders, with four playing and one substitute, or on a couple of occasions all five playing with Scott Golbourne pushing on at left midfield.
“That’s how we’ve evolved; in addition, Zeli Ismail started very well, Anthony Forde hasn’t had many chances yet.
“But now it’s really up to those to push and really come through as the season goes on.”
And despite Wolves trailing the Os and Posh at the moment, Jackett is convinced his larger squad will pay dividends as the season wears on.
“I do think one of the strengths this season is perhaps we can have a deeper and better squad than other teams,” he said.
“It might not necessarily count earlier in the season, but as the season goes on and people’s squads do get stretched – including ours – we want to make sure we look after all of our players very well and keep as many fit and available.
“Hopefully that squad size will be worth points to us by the end of the season.”
If Wolves are looking for omens, they are already well clear of the starts made by last season’s two automatically promoted clubs from League One, champions Doncaster and runners-up Bournemouth.
Led by Dean Saunders, the man at the helm when Wolves went down to the third tier, Rovers won five and drew two of their first 10 games last season.
But the Cherries had a remarkable turnaround after winning just one of their opening 10 fixtures and drawing five.