The penultimate season preview of the year, Wolves
RELEGATION WAS eventually inevitable for Wolverhampton Wanderers as they slid into the Championship under the guidance of the hapless Terry Connor.
In what was surely one of the worst managerial decisions in recent memory, the Wolves hierarchy saw fit to dispense with the services of Mick McCarthy before failing to adequately replace the former Ireland boss. Connor stepped in, but it was clear from early on that the coach did not have the mettle required to step up and manage the side, or for that matter, keeping the Molineux outfit in the top-flight.
Only three players have been added, and two of those seem unlikely to be regulars. New boss Stale Solbakken is clearly confident that he will be able to retain the services of his key men and keep the club`s stay in the second-tier brief.
Strengths: Wolves were clearly heading down for a long time, which gave the players, staff and club the opportunity to be as prepared as possible heading into the Championship. The idea of a relegation hangover affecting their start to the season seems unlikely as the drop was far from sudden.
Weakness`: If as expected, Steven Fletcher does leave for the Premier League, this is a goal-shy side. Sure Kevin Doyle bagged a number of goals whilst he was at Reading, but since those early days in the Football League, the Irish international has become a different kind of player.
Best business so far: Appointing Solbakken as manager. At 44, the former Lillestrom, Wimbledon, Aalborg and Copenhagan midfielder bring big experience to the Black Country outfit, having also represented the Norwegian national side at full and U21 level.
Solbakken cut his teeth in the managerial game at first club HamKam, before spending five years with Copenhagen and a season in the German Bundesliga with FC Koln.
Star man: With Fletcher likely to move on after handing in a transfer request, Matt Jarvis is the next most dangerous player in the Wolves squad.
Now 26 and in his peak, Jarvis won to date, his only England cap in 2011 against France after impressing for Wolves.
A pacey winger, capable of playing on either flank, his form tailed off after international recognition, but back up against Championship defences, he could thrive once more and rediscover his form.
In: Tongo Dounbia (Rennes) loan, Slawomir Peszko (Koln) loan, Frank Nouble (West Ham Utd) fre, Jamie Tank (Walsall) undisc & Bjorn Bergmann Sigurdarson (Lillestrom) £2.4m.
Out: Ashley Hemmings, James Spray, Louis Harris (all released), Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (Peterborough Utd) undisc, Adlene Guedioura (Nottingham Forest) £1m, Sam Vokes (Burnley) undisc & Michael Kightly (Stoke City) undisc.
wfc123: I can`t pretend to know much about any of Wolves` summer additions, but Solbakken comes highly recommended and certainly knows both the Norwegian and German markets well. I fancy Wolves to go up straight away – so long as they hold onto their bigger names.
chrisgwfc: Importantly nobody has left yet, meaning the likes of Stearman, O’Hara, Jarvis, Doyle and Fletcher are still around to help them get back to the Premier League at the first opportunity. My personal tip for automatic promotion.