Deadwood Central

Harry Burgoyne: Well, he isn’t ready for Championship football. Maybe never will be. There’s a serious lack of command of his area – nothing to do with size as he’s comfortably physically imposing enough to be a presence if he chose to be – and even in his handful of appearances so far, there are a number of goals where you suspect he might have done better, last night being another as he made the ground to cover Izzy Brown’s shot but only managed to push it into the net. But he isn’t Andy Lonergan. There is that consolation. It’s circumstances that have led to him playing in the first team this season when he was at best, fifth choice last season, what it does illustrate is that the goalkeeping department is one of many that needs seriously looking at over the summer. Carl Ikeme is bang average on a good day and always picks up injuries over a season. Lonergan is pretty much as bad as it gets, outwith short term loanees who didn’t hang around long then I’m not sure I’ve seen a worse Wolves keeper (so yes, worse than Paul Jones’ second spell and worse than Tony Lange). Then it’s kids. For a club that for 30 years or so has prided itself on having excellent keepers, this isn’t acceptable.

Dominic Iorfa: Brought back in from the cold for his first start at home in over four months. It didn’t go especially well. When he first came into the team in 2014/15, it was exceedingly rare that any winger would manage to beat him for either skill or pace. Last night, he got burned on three or four occasions in the first half alone by Molineux favourite Rajiv van La Parra. Fortunately good old Raj still can’t cross a ball. Iorfa is far too good to let his career slip away from him, we all know what he can do at his best, but those reports of Premier League interest are a distant memory at present.

Danny Batth: Back in the team after a two match absence and we got what we generally get from him. Won some stuff in the air, made a couple of good challenges…but it’s not enough. We’ve seen him for three full seasons at this level now. We know that his use of the ball is below par, we know that he’s cumbersome on the turn, we know that he can’t organise or lead a defence…and none of this is going to improve now. Like so many of our players, you could tolerate him as a fringe option just playing every now and then. Not an automatic choice.

Richard Stearman: People normally associate Richard Stearman with “passion”. He has multiple flaws as a defender but theoretically makes up for some of them with absolute commitment and a never-say-die attitude. It’s all a facade. If you watch him closely, he constantly passes on responsibility in ludicrous areas, lets his man go through nothing other than casualness, shirks challenges that should be in his favour…you can beat your chest and thump the ground all you like Richard, but it’s about as convincing as Sean Connery is as a Russian submarine commander. I actually have no idea why he’s in the team at the moment as there must be next to no chance of him being here next season.

Stears points the way to where he’s let a centre forward run into his channel and let someone else deal with it.

Silvio: Things I saw from our left back last night; ability to consistently control and pass the ball, positional responsibility, diligence to chase back when we lost possession and he’d gone upfield, a proper link with the wide man ahead of him, general calmness on the ball and an overall reassuring presence. And no sight of a ludicrous beard or personalised gloves. It’s been ooh, 16 months since we’ve been anywhere near close to that. It’s a shame that his fitness record across his career is so poor because it’ll probably cost him the chance of a contract here. If we could get this kind of display out of him 35+ times a season, it’d be a no brainer. I suppose I’ll just have to appreciate the novelty of seeing an actual left back at left back, because we know full well which chancer will be playing there come August.

Chinstrapped wonder or a Portuguese international? I wonder. Matt isn’t going to pass for a matinee idol either unlike Silvio.

Jack Price: Neat and tidy in possession without ever looking like he was able to control the game or have any great influence on proceedings. Did at least show for the ball constantly unlike his partner. Silly booking early on for a needless foul which then impacted on his ability to make challenges later on. One dreadful shot. I could have written that verdict for about 90 of Jack Price’s 100+ Wolves appearances. Another one who has plateaued and is pretty unlikely to improve from here, the reality is that if we persist with the likes of him then we’ll carry on with sub-60 points totals and finishes of around 15th place.

Dave Edwards: Let’s get this out of the way; Dave Edwards hasn’t had a bad season at all in the grand scheme of things. He’s got into double figures for goals, which I never thought he had in him, and there have been times when he’s genuinely merited his place. He’ll probably end up coming in the top three when it comes to the Player of the Season votes and deservedly so (although you could argue that’s more of an indictment of the lack of candidates…). However – it’s been a long time since he was playing well, or scoring. He’s always scored in bursts before going on a dry spell and is now on a sequence of one goal in 17 games. He did have our best chance last night, but failed to strike early enough while the goal was gaping, got the ball semi-stuck under his feet and ended up hitting the post. Because basically, he isn’t that good a finisher. And if he isn’t scoring, then he isn’t doing much. Was it possible to forget he was on the pitch for 20 odd minutes last night? Absolutely. Did the opposition midfielders make him look like a Year 6 kid chasing his school books around as the bigger boys chucked them to each other? For sure. Did he give the ball away for the goal when under no serious pressure then let his man run right off him? Of course. Should he be a first choice player? Hell no.

Dave leads the wild celebrations after he passes the “40 attempted passes” mark in a home game for the first time since 2008.

Ben Marshall: Played on both wings and as an ersatz left back last night. Didn’t really excel in any of those roles. When he’s in a front three or four where there’s genuine pace and direct threat alongside him, he’s a good asset to us as his passing from central areas and delivery from wide is invariably first class. When we don’t have any of that, then he can look pedestrian and he’s certainly not going to be taking on and beating many full backs.

Morgan Gibbs-White: The first thing I look for in a young attacking player is their ability to be unflustered in possession and play with their head up. Morgan has that in abundance and if we handle his development properly, we should have a serious player on our hands – it is hard to remember at times that he’s not long turned 17. Didn’t get much change out of Huddersfield when played centrally but had more of an impact out wide on the right…and then fell victim to the growing tendency of Paul Lambert to think “I planned to take you off after X minutes and I’m going to stick with that even if you have just had your best 10 minute spell of the game and are looking our most threatening player”. Would surely have been worth keeping him on and trying him in central midfield rather than Edwards who was contributing less than nothing.

Andi Weimann: As per the Brighton game, he has had one solitary decent appearance out wide for us and the rest of the time, has offered very little in that role. He has looked far better when played up front. So of course for the first half we parked him out wide on the right. He actually got injured after about two minutes and despite it clearly impacting on his mobility, we left him on for the entire game. Moved up front in the second half and tried hard but had very little by way of service. We got the ball in the box a fair amount…but he’s never going to be winning headers against the likes of Michael Hefele.

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson: We couldn’t be blunter up front when he’s playing if we had an ex-Army guy singing “You’re Beautiful”. He’s quite obviously running on empty and has been for months. As such, he shouldn’t be anywhere near the team. We aren’t learning anything from playing a guy who blatantly needs a prolonged break, it won’t be doing his confidence any good whatsoever and we aren’t going to be scoring goals when he does play there. I’m far from convinced that he’s actually good enough in the first place, he doesn’t have a fantastic instinct for getting in the right place and his finishing is indifferent at best. But at the moment it’s like judging Mo Farah’s 400m pace right after he’s crossed the finishing line at the London Marathon.

Send this man to a beach, stat. A real one, not the metaphorical one we’ve been on since we beat Forest.

Joe Mason: One decent enough shot on the turn but otherwise this was another copy-and-paste performance; not a terrible footballer by any means but doesn’t offer a huge amount of goal threat, doesn’t really create much, flits around the edges of games, doesn’t have pace, power or aerial ability, not really a wide player, a number 10 or an out-and-out striker…so what is he and what does he actually bring us? We’re still none the wiser 15 months after we signed him.

Jordan Graham: Great to see him back after a long absence. As you would expect, looked ring-rusty. But he was at least positive, taking his full back on as soon as he came on and always looking to work a yard and get a cross in (the delivery wasn’t the best last night, but it will come). Getting the likes of him, Conor Ronan and Michal Zyro in the team next season does at least provide some hope.

Nouha Dicko: Came on near the end, hung around largely on the right wing and did nothing other than run the ball straight out of play once. Lambert says he needs a pre-season…great, I can understand that. So why is he in the team now? It’s not like we don’t have alternatives. Like so much of Lambert’s management, it’s muddled at the moment and as soon as the final whistle blows against Preston a week on Sunday, we need clarity. This lumpen mish-mash with no discernible style and contradictions all over the place can’t carry on into next season.


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