Captain Sam Ricketts has promised fans Wolves will put the fluency into their football as they continue their promotion quest.
Coventry were the latest example of opposition making a stylish statement on Wolves’ home patch following Crawley, Swindon and Walsall as the Sky Blues deservedly bagged a point from Saturday’s 1-1 draw. And Oldham will be another side trying to pass their way to success on Molineux’s lush acres tonight.
Kenny Jackett’s side remain a work in progress as players gel into a more cohesive unit.
Thankfully results have remained positive while the transition to becoming a more polished outfit continues. But Ricketts is convinced it will come.
“We’re still growing as a side but, as we showed at Colchester, we dominated them and killed them off with our passing game and they’re a team who have a reputation as a good passing side,” said the skipper.
“There were times on Saturday when our interlink play in the first half dominated Coventry. What we try to do is play a variation of passes – long passes, not just hopeless long balls, and sometimes short passes, to mix things up.
“We’re trying to stretch the opposition and use the width of the pitch at Molineux.
“Teams come here and look to stifle the game in the middle of the park, so we try to use the wings and get our wingers involved.
“We want to get back to winning games as quickly as possible and hopefully we’ll do that tonight.”
Ricketts believes credit should go to the opposition, too, for the way they took the game to Wolves.
“Generally, our performance was of a really good standard but you have to give them credit in the way they played and not allowing us to dominate,” he said.
“In the first half we created some half-chances and Leigh Griffiths was only a yard away from getting on the end of one, so we were there or thereabouts.
“I thought it was a really good game.
“Coventry are arguably the best team that have come to Molineux this season.
“They’re in very good form and, but for the 10-point deduction for entering administration before the start of the season, would be sat in the top six on 21 points.
“We always knew it was going to be a good test for us but I thought we played well. We were disappointed not to have won. But there were lots of positives to come out of it and things to be pleased with.”
One of those was the solid defence, which was breached for the first time in 467 minutes by Aaron Phillips’s stunning drive four minutes from time.
But Wolves at least managed to keep League One’s deadliest strike duo – Leon Clarke and Callum Wilson – quiet.
“Their front two have scored 18 goals between them this season but as a team we handled them very well and kept them quiet and overall we looked solid,” said Ricketts.
“And if you gave their lad (Phillips) that chance again 10 times I don’t think he’d connect with it as cleanly.
“It had to be a good strike to beat Carl Ikeme with the form he’s been in.
“Nine times out of 10 he would have saved it from that angle but he took it that well, the ball was in before he could react.”
Jackett admitted Wolves probably wouldn’t be where they are if the fans hadn’t stayed as patient as they have in their backing. And Ricketts is full of praise for the way the Molineux masses have supported their team.
“The fans have been magnificent and they can see we’re a team that’s hungry to succeed and they appreciate there’s no lack of effort from us,” he said.“The Wolves fans appreciate honesty and hard work and I think that’s what we’re giving them.”
Tonight’s visit of the Latics represents another test of Wolves’ brains rather than their brawn in what’s being dubbed ‘La Liga One’ in a nod to the amount of passing football played in the third tier.
Oldham, managed by the Football League’s youngest boss Lee Johnson, 32, have built on a 1-1 draw at home to Leyton Orient to beat Preston 2-0 away in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy then beat in-form Carlisle 1-0 at the weekend.
Ricketts has been pleasantly surprised by the quality of football played at this level.
“We’re facing another side who like to pass the ball, like Swindon and Crawley did, and it will be a test for us to stop them playing and implement our game on the opposition,” said the former Bolton defender.
“It’s been interesting in that we always knew teams would raise their game to play against us this season, but I expected a lot more physical battles. A lot of teams have tried to cause us problems by passing the ball but most of the time we have shown a desire to be more effective and it’s worked.”
Wolves face their second game in four days which will become three in eight when they face Bradford on Saturday after two weeks without a league match.
Ricketts is ready for the added strain of more action after an injection appeared to solve his troublesome knee after floating cartilage was found. “The knee is good – it feels fine,” he said.
“I just take the odd painkiller now and then but it’s fine.”