Jamie O'Hara was today backed to bring out the best of Wolves’ midfielders as he prepared for a possible comeback this weekend.
The £5m former Tottenham playmaker could return to Wolves’ first team for the first time this season on Saturday against Stevenage after being re-integrated into the squad and taken off the transfer list this week.
The 27-year-old will compete with Kevin McDonald, David Davis, Lee Evans and possibly Jack Price for a place in central midfield.
McDonald had arguably his best game in the 2-1 win at Bradford as O’Hara returned to the 18 as an unused substitute.
And head coach Kenny Jackett believes O’Hara’s presence will act as competition and spur the other midfielders to greater heights.
“I certainly hope his presence can get more out of other players,” said Jackett.
“Jamie’s an option for me – he’s very good on the ball, his ball retention and his creation of chances and putting people in with a selection of passes is all very good.
“It’s that type of competition you want and you need to be a successful club and team.
“You don’t want people to get comfortable, even sub-consciously.
“Any type of competition it creates with the other midfield players it will be beneficial to the club.
“Where he needs to keep continually working now is to make sure that physically, he can get into games and impose himself on matches.
“But he’s played very well in the Under-21s, and if three or four players don’t make the next batch of games through injury and suspensions, I have to use every player at my disposal, whichever formation we use.”
Jackett feels the Molineux masses will give O’Hara a second chance.
“It’s a bigger spotlight at Molineux but they will judge him when he plays – that will tell us if he’s accepted,” he said.
“If he contributes to a positive season and plays very well for us, I think things will be fine. That’s his challenge.”
Jackett will consider what role O’Hara will have this weekend.
But he hinted at minimal changes from the line-up that played the majority of the Bradford game – apart from the problem right-back position, with Matt Doherty, Richard Stearman and Kevin Foley all carrying injuries.
Stevenage’s playing style – a more direct approach than Wolves – is likely to be a factor in the selection.
The head coach added: “We’ll see. I watched a couple of DVDs of Stevenage on Monday but I don’t think it will be too far off who played in a very good win on Saturday.”
But Jackett insisted there can be no thoughts of complacency.
“We have to be motivated and look after our own performance,” he said.
“It will be down to us and how well we prepare and what type of quality we can produce on the day.”