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Wolves may struggle to mount promotion challenge this season

Wolverhampton Wanderers could kick-off life in the Championship without two of their best players.

Wolves were relegated from the Premier League last season and now two of their star players Steven Fletcher and Matthew Jarvis have handed in transfer requests.

Dire

Wolves were simply dire last season in the Premier League. The Midlanders finished rock bottom of the Premier League.

Experienced boss Mick McCarthy was sacked, only to be replaced by former-assistant Terry Connor, who was completely out of his depth as a Premier League boss.

New

For their stint in the English second tier Wolves have appointed highly-rated Norwegian boss Stale Solbakken. The former-Wimbledon player worked wonders at FC Copenhagen, before an ill-fated spell in Germany with FC Koln ended after less than a year.

It was an appointment that surprised many, but Solbakken is regarded as a very good coach, despite his short spell in the Bundesliga proving disappointing. However, his appointment has been questioned by some because of his lack of experience in the English game.

Requests

His job will have been made harder by the fact star players Steven Fletcher and Matt Jarvis have handed in transfer requests. It’s not a surprise that players want to leave the club after relegation and the pair are probably Wolves most saleable assets.

Fletcher was one of the few bright spots for Wolves last season, as he scored 12 goals in a struggling team. The Scottish international has been linked with a number of Premier League clubs this summer, including Sunderland. Wolves are believed to be asking £12million for the striker.

Matt Jarvis enjoyed a rather inconsistent campaign in a Wolves shirt last season. However, the previous season he was one of Wolves standout performers and even earned a England cap. The 26 year-old wants to be playing Premier League football in order to add to that one England appearance.

Jarvis has been linked with moves to Stoke, Fulham and West Ham. According to Sky Sports in fact Wolves have already turned down a £9million bid from West Ham for the winger. It’s unlikely to be the last bid that Wolves receive for the winger though.

Funds

The sales of Fletcher and Jarvis could give Stale Solbakken a serious amount of money to re-invest in his team. The Championship is a hard league to win promotion from and the Wolves squad definitely needs strengthening if they are to gain a quick return to the top flight.

Wolves were not good enough for the Premier League last season. If they play like that this season in the Championship then they are very unlikely to get promoted at the first attempt. I think Wolves need to act quickly and sell their wantaway players.

Solbakken should be able to bring in good Championship players with £20million, if he get all the proceeds of the sales.

Transition

Wolves will no doubt be in transition this season. Not only have they got a new boss, but they have to acclimatise to a new division. Should Fletcher and Jarvis leave then Wolves will have to bring in replacements, and they will have to gel with their new teammates.

Surprise

When Stale Solbakken was appointed as Wolves boss I praised the appointment, because it was fresh face to the English managerial scene. He wasn’t one of the same old faces that seem to whore themselves out whenever a managerial vacancy pops up.

However, the Norwegian hasn’t really had a chance to build his own squad. He has brought in a few players, but not enough to claim that the team he has is his just yet. I’m sure he would like to bring in fresh faces and I’m sure he will before the transfer window shuts.

I would be really surprised if Wolves managed to achieve automatic promotion with their current squad. Wolves were in a losing mentality last season and I think that hangover will carry on into the start of the new season.

I really like Wolves and some of the ideas of Solbakken, and I hope they prove me wrong, but I really can’t see them bouncing straight back up into the Premier League this season.

Can Wolves mount a promotion challenge this season?

Sat 11 August, 2012
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