With only 14 games left until the end of his second season at Wolves, Tom Tracey takes a look at the five moments that have helped Kenny Jackett succeed at Molineux.
Since Kenny joined the club back in May 2013, the club has become rejuvenated following two disastrous campaigns. He has found a formula that has led to the League One title and a play-off push in the Championship this term. Below are five reasons that I think have been key in his success.
Creating the Bomb Squad
Kenny immediately identified a group of players that played a big part in the failures of the club and cordoned them off from the rest of the club in an attempt to improve the atmosphere, the dressing room and the club.
Players such as Jamie O’Hara, Roger Johnson, Stephen Ward, Karl Henry and Solbakken’s transfer failures were forced to train at different times to the first team, not allowing them to have any influence on the main squad and forcing them to work on getting a transfer. This freshening up was vital in changing the mentality of failure and beginning the road back to where they were.
Blooding the youth
Kenny has given debuts to many youth prospects at Wolves: Lee Evans, Jack Price, Liam McAlinden, Zeli Ismail, Ethan Ebanks-Landell, Aaron McCarey, Kortney Hause, Dominic Iorfa et al.
There are not many English clubs that have used their academy in recent times as much as Wolves, which is drawing comparisons to the Southampton model and which may well prove to give us success.
Wolves fans love a young player coming through the ranks and there is always a desire to see these players do really well and perhaps more patience with them.
January 2014 transfer window success
At a time in the 2013/14 season when Wolves were struggling for form, Kenny made a bold move in the transfer window.
Signing James Henry and Michael Jacobs on permanent deals was always to be expected following their loans, however the replacement of the entire front line, swapping out Leigh Griffiths and Kevin Doyle for Nouha Dicko and Leon Clarke, came as a surprise but one that paid off as Wolves had a barnstorming second half of the season to romp to the title.
A sense of stagnancy prior to this window disappeared as Wolves began to dominate.
Winning back the fans
In Jackett’s first interview he identified the need to rekindle the relationship between the club and fans who became disillusioned.
By playing young players, winning games, playing an attractive style of football and offering honestly and good analysis in interviews, Kenny has largely done that. Whilst there will always be those who are unhappy with certain aspects, Kenny has amassed a level of respect from Wolves fans who believe in what he is doing.
Winning League One
For a club of Wolves’ stature, there were no doubts about what was expected of Wolves in League One. However, it still had to be achieved and Kenny correctly identified what was needed both to win the league and prosper when back in the Championship.
Creating a blend of mean defence and dangerous attack, Kenny found the winning formula to get us started on our return to the Premier League.