Neil Emblen’s views on Wolves from New Zealand

31 03 2010

In the second part of this week’s series of views from Wolves old boys: Neil Emblen shares his views on the club at the moment, the contact he still keeps with Chief Executive Jez Moxey and his hope of watching Wolves play in the Premier League

Emblen scoring against Sheffield United at Molineux during his time at Wolves.

Neil Emblen made 123 appearances for Wolves during a three-year spell at Molineux and he says there is plenty of Premier League exposure in New Zealand where he is a player/coach for Waitakere United.

He said : “We are lucky enough to see a lot of the Premier League on Sky NZ. We have six live matches on every weekend. The only problem is that they are in the middle of the night!”

Emblen has however seen enough of Wolves to give his thoughts on the club’s second ever Premier League campaign.

Emblen added: “I think they have been superb. Mick McCarthy has led the boys really well and made sure the spine of the team has been strong. Marcus Hahnemann has been a revelation, Jody Craddock has held the defence together and has proved many past doubters totally wrong and Karl Henry, the local lad who leads by example and puts in a truck load of work each week.

“The signing of Kevin Doyle probably raised a few eyebrows but what a signing! Firstly, he has a Paul Dickov type work rate giving defenders no time to dwell on the ball which the Wolves fans love but he also has a superb eye for goal and a great touch. Mick McCarthy has done a fantastic job and his team typifies him as a man; hardworking, honest and up for the challenge.”

The Bromley-born utility man think Wolves have done enough to survive this season and as long as they can keep the key players fit, they should be fine.

Emblen added: “I think they will (stay up). The team is showing a real togetherness to survive and I think they will stay up for sure as long as the above key players stay fit.”

With there being a huge squad overhaul since Emblen left Molineux nearly ten years ago, there are not many of the playing staff left besides ‘keeper Matt Murray. Emblen has also previously admitted he was going to make an early return to England when he applied to replace Chris Evans as academy manager. However Wolves cited that they wanted a more experienced candidate.

Emblen said: “There are not many players left from my time, only really Matt Murray remains at the club. I have exchanged a few emails with Jez Moxey wishing the club all the best and congratulating them on the triumphs of promotion last season. I keep in contact with plenty of Wolves people via Facebook and I hope they are enjoying what looks to be wonderful season.”

Emblen scored ten goals during his time at Molineux and will be hoping to see his successors scoring a few when he returns for a holiday in September.

He said: “I am back for a couple of weeks this September and I’m hoping I will be able to watch the boys in the Premier League.”

*Check back tomorrow for another exclusive interview – this time with ex-Wolves midfielder Simon Osborn.


Kevin Foley enjoying his new role

30 03 2010

Foley has made 106 appearances for Wolves since moving from Luton Town in 2007.

Wolves defender come winger Kevin Foley is enjoying playing further up the field and feels he is now getting used to the position he is being deployed in due to Michael Kightly’s long-standing injury.

Foley has played in each of Wolves’ last 19 league games and is improving in his midfield role week by week.

He said: “The gaffer has said to me last couple of games try to stay up there – don’t be as honest trying to get back as a second full back because we need to break at times. In the last couple of games I’ve found myself supporting Kevin Doyle a bit more, but I think there was a lot of getting used to the position.”

It has now got the point where Foles is practicing his shooting in the warm up; something he never thought would be happening this season. He has been unlucky in recent weeks after hitting the woodwork at both Bolton and West Ham.

Foley added: “I find myself practising before games – you never thought I’d be doing that last season. It’s something you’ve got to work on and when you get the chances you’ve got to be able to take them. I said to myself ‘third time lucky’ when I take a shot because I’ve hit the post twice, so next time hopefully it creeps in rather than coming out.”

My verdict: Foley is starting to pick up form in his new position and is starting to bring others into play a little more. It is disapointing that our player of the year from 08/09 is playing out of position but hopefully he can revert to his favoured right back slot next season.

*Wolves fans are set to appear on Soccer AM this Saturday ahead of the team’s trip to Arsenal later that day. One of the fans, Ryan Leister, can’t wait to take his seat in the Luther Blissett stand. He told Wffs: “I cant wait but Im not excited as my mate Reeg who actually threw up when I told him the news, hopefully we’ll do our club proud.”

* Dave Edwards is to step up his comeback with another reserve outing tonight. Sylvan Ebanks-Blake was also due to play but had to withdraw due to illness

* Home shirts are now only £10 at Wolves’ official club stores at Molineux and in Dudley Street.

Steve Froggatt praises Wolves’ achievements this season

29 03 2010

Froggatt was bought for £1,000,000 before leaving Wolves in 1998

Former winger Steve Froggatt has tipped Wolves to stay in the Premier League and points much of the success at striker Kevin Doyle. Froggatt believes Doyle could play for any Premier League club.

Froggatt made 111 appearances for Wolves during a spell four-year-spell at Molineux and he thinks what Mick McCarthy has done for Wolves is remarkable.

Froggatt said: “When you consider the constraints McCarthy was put under it has been a brilliant achievement. Kevin Doyle was a great signing, I think he could play for any Premier League club in the country at the moment. 

“Any team that comes up from the Championship and finishes fourth from bottom has done great. He (Mick McCarthy) has got together a really good and young team. The thing for me is that they all look really strong and fit. It would be great next year to see all four West Midlands clubs in Premier League next year if West Brom can get up which looks likely.

“Doyle has been Wolves’ best player all season. Jody Craddock’s experience has played a part and he’s scored a few goals as well which is great considering he’s a centre-half. When Kightly and Jarvis are fit they’re great. Players with pace frighten defences and Jarvis in particular has come to the fore in the last few weeks. The service he has delivered he has created chances for the team.”

Another one of Wolves’ unsung heroes Karl Henry has been praised by Froggatt who thought he was Wolves’ best player against Aston Villa last weekend.

He said: “I gave Karl Henry M.O.M in the Sky studio and he is now playing his best position. When he joined the club he was playing at right back and on the wing. It was not doing himself any favours. Now he gets through a hell of a lot of work and plays a hugely important part in the team. He has led by example all season.”

Zubar: All the pressure is on Villa

16 03 2010

The Frenchman has made 14 starts this term.

Defender Ronald Zubar says all the pressure is on Villa ahead of Saturday’s clash between the Midlands clubs.

Villa still have faint hopes of securing a Champions League spot and Zubar says all their recent success like getting to the Carling Cup final puts huge pressure on them to win.

Zubar said: “Villa will be expected to win because they’re at home, so there won’t be any pressure on us. We go to Villa Park trying to do the same things – stay strong on the pitch and stay in the game.

“They’re a good team – they’ve just played in the Carling Cup final and are seventh in the table. Villa is another difficult one, but we’ve been doing well away from home.

“It’s a special game because it’s a derby. When we played at home it was a very tough game and we managed to draw. After a point against Stoke they will be wanting to beat us.

“But we have a good feeling after Burnley and will be ready to battle again for 90 or 95 minutes. We have to try to keep a clean sheet and take our chances when we create them.”

Zubar admits that despite the success at Burnley on Saturday Wolves have to get on with the next game.

He added: “It was a good performance but we still have more to do. It was an important win, because for the last couple of months we’d played very well and had created chances to score.

“We have to keep it going, because we’ve got nine more big games to come. We need to keep it going and stay solid. Everyone is working on the defensive side from the front players back to the defence and goalkeeper, chasing the ball and doing what they can.

“We all want to keep playing like we have been doing for the last couple of months.”

*Daniel Jones has had his loan deal at Bristol Rovers extended until the end fo the season.

My verdict: Zubar is right but I don’t think even the most loyal of Wolves fans can expect us to take much from Saturday. Villa have really pacey wingers (something that we really don’t have in our defence) so that will cause us problems.

Good move for Jones. He won’t be involved with Wolves for the remainder of the season and I expect him to be released in the summer.

Doyler chasing goals

12 03 2010

Kevin Doyle has has revealed he enjoys playing as a lone frontman in Wolves 4-5-1 formation and added he is keen to add to his tally of six at Turf Moor tomorrow.

Doyle is set to play a lone role again at Burnley tomorrow.

The Irish International said: “Strikers thrive on goals – it doesn’t matter how well you play, when people talk about you, that’s what you’re judged on. You can be Diego Maradona on the pitch¸ but I think if you can’t score a goal as a striker it doesn’t really matter.

“It’s tough but I’ve enjoyed the games. The chances may not have been coming my way but we have been getting some chances. That’s positive. I know from experience before it will happen again.

“It’s just a case of keeping working and keeping doing the right things and when it does fall my way, I’ve got to enjoy it and try to get some goals between now and the end of the season. It’s going to be like that in our situation – we’re not going to be scoring loads of goals so it’s up to us to try to keep them out at the other end and nick one or two from an attacker’s point of view.

“I’ve enjoyed every game. I’ve enjoyed it whether I’ve got goals or not. We played Manchester United the other day and I really enjoyed the game and that’s the way I look at it. It’s the same for any of us – whoever plays up front and in the wide positions must just keep plugging away and hope to capitalise on chances we do get.”

Tomorrow’s game at Burnley is huge in Wolves’ bid to beat the drop and Doyle is under no illusions about how the result could affect Wolves’ end of season position.

He added: “It’s a big game, just the same as last week and this is the next game so it is the most important. It is a pressure game so we’ll all enjoy playing in it.

“Burnley got a decent result against Stoke on Wednesday in coming from behind to get a draw and they’ll be confident at home.

“The crowd are very good, they’ll be passionate and they’ll be right at us because they’ll realise that playing against us will be a great chance for them to get out of their situation. So it will be similar to ourselves in that we’re both confident we can win.”

The striker says that he doesn’t tend to look at the league table as it depresses him.

Doyle added: “For the last week or so I haven’t bothered looking because you look good one week after a result and you look depressed the next week after a bad one. So I’ve decided to forget about it.

“It does your head in and  I’m sure it’s the same for fans looking at it because it only make you nervous. There are 10 games left to finish our season brilliantly, have a great finish to the season and we are two or three games away from being safe. That’s our opportunity – it’s there for us if we want it. If we play well that can happen.

“The only time to be feeling pressure is if it comes to the situation where we have to win to stay up, so we shouldn’t let it get it to us.” My verdict: I think Doyle would easily get double figures each season if he was playing in a decent Premier League team that plays two up front. The problem he face at Wolves is that McCarthy is employing him as a lone striker; meaning he is having to create his own chances.

*Picture courtesy of Getty Images.

My verdict: At a better Premier League club I am sure Doyle would bag at least 10 goals a season but here at Wolves he is playing as a lone frontman. As a reult he is having to create his own chances. Give him a partner Mick!

Morale could not be Berra

8 03 2010

Berra has made 22 appearances so far this season.

Wolves defender Christophe Berra insists players’ spirits are not dropping despite a dismal recent run of results; notably the narrow defeat to Manchester United on Saturday.

The Scottish International said: “It was hard to take. It was the same old story, doing so well and then getting beaten by a top team who take their chance. But we are not on a low. It is natural to be disappointed when you lose but we can take a lot of positives out of our performances.

“We will turn those positives into three points eventually. If we keep playing as we are, maintain the same commitment and work just as hard, I am sure we will get a few results. We feel we have been playing well and not getting our reward – but that is football for you. Hopefully, our luck will change.

“There will be a bit of nerves but it will also be hell and belter because both teams will be going for it. Going away from home is always going to be hard and Burnley play good football so it is going to be a very difficult game.

“But it is a game we know we can win. We can’t just turn up. We have to earn a victory because they will think they have a great chance of one themselves. It is going to go right to the end for whoever wins the title and right to the end for whoever gets relegated as well.”

My verdict: I hope their spirits are up on Saturday because this game could define the remainder of our season. I still don’t know how or why we paid circa £2.5million for Berra. He keeps losing it under pressure against big players or putting it out for a throw in when he could easily boot it up the field. Come on Christophe, sort it out!