Kenny Jackett today insisted the time is right for Jamie O’Hara to return to the Wolves squad because the player is “humbled”.
O’Hara made a surprise League One return for Saturday’s 2-1 win at Bradford as an unused substitute.
It was the first time he has appeared in the squad since May when he fell out with fans at Brighton and left the pitch in disgrace after relegation from the Championship.
Head coach Jackett said only last week O’Hara remained out of his plans but he has had a change of heart and feels the £5m midfielder has served his punishment at a time when he again lost the services of Jack Price to a migraine.
There were a few boos when O’Hara’s name was announced at the weekend but nothing like the ugly atmosphere he helped provoke at the AMEX Stadium.
“I feel enough time has passed now for Jamie O’Hara,” said Jackett.
“I think the last four months have humbled him – those are his words – and he’s very appreciative that everyone at the club is willing to give him a second chance.
His performances in the Under-21s have been very good.
“We’re going to bring him back into the group and set him the task of working as hard as he possibly can, being a good team player and earning a place.”
Jackett stressed the situation with O’Hara was a fluid one.
“Initially it was us losing one of our three-man midfield and I’d be foolish not to use an experienced player on our books who could help us win at Bradford,” he said.
“You have to constantly assess things because it’s about the team and what you need. He didn’t get the move we all thought he’d get. He’s looking forward to getting his head down and doing what he does best, which is playing good football.
“He has to bring the same attitude as he’s shown in the Under-21s to us now, and, if he does – and I think he will – he’ll be an asset to us football-wise.”
An Express & Star poll of 4,000 votes this month revealed 55 per cent were prepared to give the midfielder another chance.
Jackett admitted he risked upsetting some supporters by his decision.
“I don’t think you can please all of the people all of the time,” he said.
“But the fans’ view is something we look at.
“If he does well, I think the fans will respond to any player positively in those circumstances.”
Jackett said he would assess whether he felt O’Hara needs to make a public apology.
“He wants his football to do the talking, which I’d advise any footballer to do,” he said.
“We’ll think about whether Jamie should make a public statement.”