Fan Focus: Wolves (H) Post-Match Views

So here we go to catch up with a fan of the opposition once again, and as seems customary I'm asking about how well they did following another SAFC defeat.

That said, at least this guy is a good one. Tom Baugh rejoins us once again from the superb Wolves Blog erm... "Wolves Blog"... a simple name, but top notch reading, and certainly one to keep your eyes on.

Tom's delighted with the win as you'd expect, but still holds some nerves headed into what everyone is labelling "Survival Sunday" in five days time. Here's his thoughts on that, and how the game on Saturday at the Stadium of Light went...

Well done, another season in the Premier League under your belts it would seem?

Tom: Well, I hope so, but it's far from a done deal just yet. With Blackpool and Wigan both winning, we have to put the champagne on ice for another week.

Still, we're now level on points with Blackburn and above Birmingham too, so victory against Sunderland has unquestionably put us in a stronger position.

Blackpool, Wigan and Birmingham all have difficult away fixtures and with us playing Blackburn at home, we've given ourselves a superb chance to stay up. I just hope there's not a sting in the tail.

What did you make of the game on Saturday?

Tom: A classic game of two halves, if you'll forgive the cliche. Sunderland dominated the first 45 and we were lucky to come in on level terms. The Wolves goal came against the run of play, although what a strike from Jody Craddock. I said in the preview he came up with some important goals last season, so I wasn't surprised to see him at it again.

Your goal was shocking defending from us, particularly Mancienne, who was ball-watching and allowed Sessegnon to simply run off him and smash the ball home unmarked. Still, you deserved that luck given your dominance.

Second half, I thought we upped our game and the introduction of Jarvis was key. He forced Bardsley back and stood up a beauty of a cross for Fletcher to get the all important second. Once we got our noses in front, I felt confident we'd hang on. The third goal was a bonus.

Both teams had a few half-chances and a decent shout for a penalty, but overall, I thought Wolves were decent value for the win, given our second half performance.

I thought Jamie O’Hara was outstanding for your lot. Are hopes high that he will stay on permanently?

Tom: I think if we stay up, it's a formality that he'll sign. He's said as much himself. If it happens, I'll be interested to see how much we have to pay Spurs. I reckon he's worth about £4-£5 million myself.

If we go down though, he'll be off somewhere else.

He had a cracking game on Saturday as you say and definitely adds something to our side. His form dipped, much like the team's in general a few weeks ago, but he's back at it now.

He's got a great eye for a pass, always wants the ball and isn't afraid to shoot from distance. A Premiership quality footballer, who will only get better in the years to come. Hopefully we'll get to see that development in a gold shirt.

Just knew Jody Craddock of all people would score too! I was actually semi-pleased, he’s a top bloke.

Tom: Yes, a lovely bloke who I've had the pleasure of chatting with on a few occasions. He gave another assured performance on Saturday, capped with a cracking strike. There's not many center forwards who would have controlled that volley as well as he did. He's part of the furniture at Molineux and a hero these days. Right so too.

Who was your own man of the match for each team?

Tom: For Wolves, I'll go for an unsung hero in Karl Henry. If you watched the highlights, you'll probably think I'm mad, but if you saw the entire game, you'd realise his influence.

Every time Sunderland attacked, particularly in the first half, it seemed to be Henry who was getting blocks in or heading balls away from danger. He also showed great tenacity in the lead up to Craddock's goal, winning two tackles and teeing up Hunt for the cross. We've needed big performances from our skipper in the last two matches and he's delivered.

For Sunderland, I'll go with Zenden. He's just a top professional and still a brilliant footballer. Deserved a goal for a superb strike in the first half and was an important part of the midfield that left us chasing shadows during that opening 45.

With all the injury problems Sunderland have had, you realise the value of quality experienced footballers and Zenden is just that.

Do you think Wolves will take this positive finish into the start of next season?

Tom: Well, seven points from the last three games is a great achievement, considering the mess we were in, but it's not over yet. However, if we get the job done next weekend against Blackburn, there will definitely be a feel-good factor around Molineux during the summer.

We're redeveloping the ground and the chairman has promised to continue investing in the side, so if we remain a Premiership outfit, I think there's a wonderful opportunity for us to progress and establish ourselves.

If we go down, suddenly everything takes on a different complexion. Given where we find ourselves now, relegation would be a disaster.

As we said earlier, head on over to Tom's site Wolves Blog for more about the Wanderers, and his thoughts headed into a massive weekend down the bottom of the table.
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