Fifth straight win and now clear of relegation worries
Andy Lonergan: There’s a hell of a lot wrong with Andy Lonergan’s game. His kicking either from hand or on the ground invariably just about reaches halfway, often sliced out wildly to the left hand side of the pitch. His command of the box is as good as non-existent; not just in terms of claiming crosses (which he fundamentally cannot do and often doesn’t even attempt) but with regard to taking charge of situations where he can see the whole picture – this failing nearly costing us a goal at 0-0 (more on which later). And yet, what he can do from time to time is pull off an exceptional save. To pay us back for Saturday’s horror show for Cardiff’s goal – an error which ended up costing us nothing in the grand scheme of things – he saved two points for us with a great stop from an effort arrowing into the bottom corner from around six yards out. Never going to be good enough and who knows, this might even turn out to be his final ever game in a Wolves shirt if Carl Ikeme is fit to play at the weekend and for the remainder of the season. Not a bad way to go out if that does turn out to be the case.
Conor Coady: Continues to show steady progress at right back, at present a succession of highly rated wide players are struggling to get the better of him at any stage. Going forward his impact is always going to be limited although now we have a fluid front four ahead of him, we’re less reliant on our full backs providing quite so much attacking threat so it becomes less of a factor. There’s only one thing he’s going to be remembered for from this game though and it’s that goal line clearance. He had no right at all to get back and save us there and it’s a neat microcosm of him as a player. As we look to next season, would I seriously consider him as a permanent member of the back four? Not really. But if a squad player is willing to show that level of commitment and heart, then he’ll do for me as a reliable back up option.
Danny Batth: No repeat of Saturday’s goalscoring heroics but handled Assombalonga with relative ease, looks to be working his way back into some decent form. Whether it’s direction from the coaching staff or a reaction to being dropped a few weeks ago, his use of the ball has improved of late. In truth it’s long overdue that he no longer be treated as an automatic choice; he needs to continue these standards to be a first team player here.
Kortney Hause: My Man of the Match as he continues to improve week on week; he shows more faith in his own physicality to deal with forwards in tight situations and like Batth, is looking far better on the ball at present than he was earlier in the season. He’s now very much the primary option at centre half, as has always been the case, the raw ability is there – we’re starting to see the results.
Matt Doherty: The standard mixed bag from my favourite bearded trundler. Managed to let a ball run under his foot in the first half while under no pressure whatsoever. Went on a foray forwards in the second half, then when we lost the ball managed to make it just inside our own half as he ambled back while others filled his position and did his job for him. But, to his credit, popped up high up the park (in the #10 position somehow) as we broke after Coady’s clearance and played a good part in the goal. When he puts his mind to it, he can actually offer a reasonable amount on the ball. He’s never going to be able to defend though. Doesn’t have the ability or application to do that. So nothing has changed really.
Dave Edwards: It was apparent very early on that Forest were intent on playing from the back so unsurprisingly we allocated much of the chasing duties to Dave. He did it fairly well, winning the ball enough times to put the opposition back under pressure, although these efforts told in the end and he was visibly running on fumes towards the end. As ever, not much to say about his impact in possession.
Lee Evans: A quieter game than on Saturday. Neat and tidy enough on the ball but didn’t produce much in the way of damaging passes to the attacking players ahead of him. We’re still short of the right balance in midfield – it’s always going to be the case that if Edwards is one of the deeper two in there (and let’s be fair, he has more than merited that spot this season, whatever the limitations of his game), the onus is very much on his partner to create from there. It remains unclear whether Evans can be that man. He probably is a better option than anyone else we have at the moment and he’s started all of the five wins, so at present it’s not much of a choice. In the longer term it’s an issue that still need to be addressed.
Ben Marshall: He is to the Championship what James Henry was to League One; a steady, consistent outlet out wide who can offer plenty of threat despite a lack of pace. Credit has to be given to Paul Lambert on this one as many would have wanted us to wait until the summer before trying to nab him on a free transfer (if indeed they wanted us to sign him at all); as it is, we’ve needed his output. Came extremely close with a free kick in the second half, Forest’s iffy keeper was getting nowhere near it.
Ivan Cavaleiro: Bright in the first half, Forest were clearly wary of him around the box and he probably should have scored shortly before half time when he put a shot into the side netting. Took a bit of a whack early on in the second half and was replaced shortly afterwards, although not before producing a manful effort to cover when Forest broke for their big chance at 0-0 (it is odd that we had a 30 second spell of play where Ivan was covering round for our centre halves and being the last line of defence while Doherty then popped up in the pocket of space behind the striker, Rinus Michels eat your heart out).
Andi Weimann: Amazing work rate as ever, the late injury to Helder Costa resulted in him playing a mix of out wide and behind the striker which would seem to be his secondary role in an ideal world. Gave it absolutely everything though, supplied an excellent cross for the winner and probably would have had a goal of his own had the right decision been made to pass to him. At present it seems a no brainer to sign him permanently in the summer at what we believe to be a relatively low, pre-agreed fee.
Nouha Dicko: It can’t have been easy for him to be thrown into the starting line-up around 10 minutes before kick off. He did well enough though. Had what seemed to me to be a stonewall penalty appeal turned down before half time and was in the right place to tuck away his goal. Lambert said after the game that he believes Nouha needs a solid, hard pre-season under his belt to get back to his best and it’s hard to disagree; we’d all like to see a return of the player we had in 2014/15. It’s been a disappointing season for him but the goodwill remains.
Morgan Gibbs-White: The faith Lambert has in the 17 year old is shown by him continuing to be a part of the matchday squads even when we were seriously threatened by relegation and he brought him on here at a critical stage of the game. Long term I would say his future definitely lies in central midfield but it is easy to see why the manager chose to use him out wide here and utilise his speed on the break. Horribly chopped down by Fox at the end leading to the Forest man’s dismissal.
Romain Saiss: Did a similar job to Saturday; came on, shut down some growing threat, allowed us to see out the game. It’s a hell of a luxury to have to use that quality of player in that very specific bit part role. We still need to work out how to use him best, he is definitely playing higher up the park than he was earlier in the season and this seems to produce better results. We don’t need him (or anyone) standing right in front of the centre halves.
Jon Dadi Bodvarsson: Oh Bod. Bod, Bod, Bod. I know you want a goal more than anything at the moment. Anxiety is normal in these circumstances. But when we have a two on one, heading into injury time, and it’s Andi Weimann who’s wide open on the edge of the box, you pass the ball to him. If you don’t, then you make sure you score. Not sidefoot the ball straight at the keeper. He did ok apart from that, a couple of his trademark dribbles where it looks like it should be impossible that he beats anyone one on one but he does it anyway. I’m sure he’ll know he did the wrong thing last night.