Writer: DJ Wolves
Wolves go into the final third of the season in 7th place in the Premier League and with an FA Cup Quarter Final with Man Utd to look forward to. How things have changed from the teams we have watched over the last 30 years or so at Molineux when this time of the season has usually meant fighting for promotion, or trying to avoid relegation, or sometimes even just going through the motions as a mid-table Championship team. You have to go back to 1980 to find a season that Wolves reached such giddy heights. That season they finished 6th in the top flight, got to the FA Cup 5th Round and won the League Cup.
And the hope is that this is just the start for Wolves as they look to re-establish themselves as one of the biggest clubs in England. Plans are being formulated to increase the Molineux capacity from just over 30,000 to between 45k and 50k, an increase of 50% and work looks like starting on that development in the summer of 2020. The expectation is that investment in the playing staff will also continue. And that’s over and above the fact that Wolves have arrived at this level with a quite young team that have plenty of improvement left in them.
Next on the agenda is a trip to Bournemouth on Saturday for the last of a run of games against fellow mid-table teams. Whereas Wolves are looking to recreate former glories, Bournemouth are currently enjoying the most successful period in their history. They joined the football league in 1923 and between then and 2013 they only spent two seasons higher than the third tier of English football. But in the last two seasons, they have achieved mid-table positions in the Premier League and look like doing so again this year. This despite the Vitality Stadium having a distinctly lower league feel to it, with a capacity of less than 11,500.
Wins against Everton, West Ham and Leicester followed by a draw against Newcastle has seen Wolves move to the top of the mid-table mini league and they are 6 points clear of 9th. So only Watford can overhaul them in 7th this weekend, and they would need a win at Cardiff coupled with a Wolves defeat at Bournemouth to make that happen.
After the game in Dorset, Wolves travel to Huddersfield on Tuesday evening followed by a home game against Cardiff. Those two games are the return legs of Wolves most disappointing results of the season as they lost to both clubs in November. Confidence will be high to get some revenge this time around, but if Wolves can win just two of those next three games, it should be enough to consolidate their 7th position.
Then we will be in for an FA Cup Quarter Final where a sell out crowd and an electric atmosphere are a formality. It will be an occasion when returning to the big time will become a stark reality for this club and if Nuno can send out a full-strength team then a home win is far from out of the question. I’m sure I can’t be the only Wolves fan who can’t wait for that game to come around. But the anticipation will be even higher if we have 6, 7 or even 9 more league points in the bag by then.