How much will Wolves miss Matt Jarvis and Steven Fletcher?

Wolves have sold two of their star performers from last season in Steven Fletcher and Matt Jarvis and although the fans must have half expected it, it is still a blow.

Along with losing Michael Kightly, Wolves have lost a lot of their creativity and may now struggle to create and take chances so manager Stale Solbakken may have to dip into the transfer market once again. One thing Wolves have more than most clubs is that their finances are always very healthy and I’m sure if the manager wants to use the money gained from the transfers to buy players the board won’t have any objections. But spending the money does not always make you successful and they may have good enough options in their squad already.

Upfront Steven Fletcher may be a miss but Sylvain Ebanks-Blake and Kevin Doyle look to be first choice this season and between them they have a good pedigree in the Championship and I am expecting them to score quite a lot of goals. With Frank Nouble and Bjorn Sigurdarson backing them up, I don’t think they will have to bring in another striker or at least pursue another one. If someone becomes available and they think they can do a better job then they will have the funds to sign them so it isn’t all doom and gloom now that they have lost their star striker. But, if they do achieve their ambitions and get back to the Premier League at the first time of asking then they will need a new striker, as Fletcher got 12 goals in 34 games last year and even that didn’t keep them up so that just shows where they had problems.

Fletcher scored 24 goals in two seasons for Wolves

The bigger loss for me at the moment, is definitely winger Jarvis because he was often the spark for the team, he deserves to be in the Premier League and I don’t think he was actively looking to leave the club this summer even though he was in high demand. He has actually started the first two games at the start of the season and as we have seen with a lot of players over the years he could have refused to play and forced through a move. He will be harder to replace but, yet again, maybe they don’t need to. They have Slawomir Peszcko who impressed me on his debut against Leeds United and I think he will improve as the season goes on, and Stephen Hunt who can be very good on his day but he just hasn’t shown enough yet in a Wolves shirt. Also, waiting in the wings is the young Anthony Forde who actually started against Leeds on the opening day so they obviously have high expectations for him.

Jarvis also has one England cap

So, I can see Wolves keeping hold of their money at the moment and if they need extra reinforcements in January to push them on then we may see some movement. Or, if they get promoted then they have a little extra money to make sure they have enough quality to avoid a relegation battle in the next season.

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Who will win the Championship?

Bolton Wanderers are one of the favourites to be promoted straight back to the Premier League and it is clear to see why. They have kept the majority of the squad from last year and in my opinion it should have been good enough to survive in the Premier League. At the back they have Zat Knight who is a capable defender and David Wheater and new signing Matt Mills so they are covered there. In midfield they have the returning pair of Lee Chung Yong and Stuart Holden combined with the quality of Mark Davies and Chris Eagles they should be able to control most games with these players. The only position they are struggling with slightly is in attack as they seem to lack a consistent goal scorer but I have high hopes for both Marvin Sordell and Benik Afobe this season.

Last year many people believed that Leicester City would walk the title and would be preparing for a season in the Premier League right now but unfortunately for them it didn’t quite work out and a lot of their bigger names didn’t perform their best. Now, with Nigel Pearson back in charge they look set to be contenders once again. Both David Nugent and Jermaine Beckford can score goals in this division and Wes Morgan marshalling the defence I expect a much better showing from them this year.

Neil Warnock has got QPR and Sheffield United promoted to the Premier League in the past and will now be hoping to work his magic at Leeds United. The only problem I see with backing Leeds is the fact that they keep losing their best players and the ones that can produce a bit of magic like Robert Snodgrass but nevertheless they do still have payers like Ross McCormack (who is actually linked with a move away) and Luciano Becchio who can score all types of goals so they will be challengers.

Wolves were just awful towards the end of last season and that will have hurt their players and they will be hoping to bounce back to their best this season and give the fans something to cheer about. They could be losing three of their better players though before the transfer window with Michael Kightly already leaving and both Steven Fetcher and Matt Jarvis being linked with Premier League clubs it may not be so easy. Also the team will have to get to grips with what Stale Solbakken or it will be another season of disappointment and they may get stuck in the Championship for a number of years.

Finally, the third team that were relegated from the Premier League, Blackburn Rovers also make my shortlist and it was a difficult decision on whether to include them because they have someone in charge that seems to be a very poor manager but in his defence he has brought in some good signings and that’s what is making me think they could win the title. Danny Murphy could prove to be the signing of the season in the Championship and lead them back to the Premier League.

Can Wolves bounce straight back to the Premier League?

Wolves will be playing in the Championship next season but at least away to Swansea they gave their fans something to shout about.

When they were 4-1 down they must have thought could this season get any worse but the players have done the club proud and managed to salvage a point which seemed very unlikely after the Danny Graham goal. Out of the three goal scorers for Wolves I only expect one of them to be there next season. Steven Fletcher has got 11 goals in the Premier League this season and in a struggling side that is enough to convince someone to take a chance on him, Fletcher is one of the best in the air and a lot of teams will be interested in the summer and unfortunately for Wolves he will probably be sold quite cheaply. Matt Jarvis scored two of the goals in the game and he is another that should be in the Premier League because he has a lot of ability and can take players on, occasionally though his final delivery can let him down. The other goal scorer on the day was Dave Edwards who has actually had an ok season in my opinion although I don’t think he is that great. He has only managed to get three goals this season and maybe he should have contributed more.

But now it is time to look into the future and the team seem pretty set to challenge for promotion next year because they have a lot of players that are very good in the Championship but have been unable to show their talents in the Premier League. In goal they will have Dorus De Vries who proved at Swansea that he is very good and kept a lot of clean sheets when he was at the club, he will probably be first choice as Wayne Hennessey is injured and could even be sold in the summer. It is in front of the goalkeeper that has been the problem, they have looked awful at times and Roger Johnson is clearly not happy at the club which hasn’t helped his performances and may have even disrupted the dressing room. But Stephen Ward has performed admirably at left back and will continue in that position next season and probably be a lot more effective. In the middle of the back four though they need some changes, Richard Stearman and Christophe Berra are lucky to be Championship defenders never mind first choice in the Premier League with them playing 31 and 33 games each.

At least they have some potential in the midfield with youngster David Davis who has been quite impressive in recent weeks and should be a first team regular next season. In my opinion Jamie O’Hara and Michael Kightly should also stay as they have had injury problems and the club have stuck by them so they should show some loyalty to the club. However, loyalty goes out the window sometimes when it comes to relegation. One player I do think they should get rid of is Karl Henry because he isn’t very good and it isn’t surprising that the team has struggled every year when he is their main midfielder, he is poor on the ball and dives into stupid tackles and picks up needless bookings.

Up front with the expected departure of Steven Fletcher they may struggle especially if Kevin Doyle also gets a move away but he is another that I think should show some loyalty as hasn’t really shown his best during his time at Molineux only scoring 21 goals in 102 games. One positive is that Sylvan Ebanks-Blake can score goals in the Championship and will perform a lot better than he has done in recent seasons. He only has one goal in the Premier League this year but has scored a lot of goals in the division below.

I believe whoever the manager is next year, I think they do need more experience than Terry Connor but he could still do a decent job, needs to bring in a few players especially in key areas such as centre back and centre forward but other than that I expect Wolves to be knocking on the door of the Premier League at this stage next year.