Kenny Jackett has halted the “runaway train” at Wolves. Can Rotherham United ensure the League One giants hit the buffers at the New York Stadium tomorrow?
It was the former Doncaster Rovers manager Dean Saunders who tagged the club a runaway train after they plummeted to a second successive relegation after dropping out of the Premier League.
Saunders, along with Terry Connor and the Norwegian Stale Solbakken, had been unable to apply the brakes.
Enter Jackett last Summer and he’s got the club moving in the right direction again although outsiders look at some of the names in the squad and reckon they certainly should be making an impact up at the top end of League One.
Of course, it is never that simple. Fans, who had the Premier League experience still so fresh in the memory, had become angry and disillusioned.
Jackett said it was important he drew a line in the sand, changed some of the personnel and injected some freshness in the squad.
He did that - one of the signings being attacking midfielder Kevin McDonald in a £250,000 deal with Sheffield United - and they had a great start, losing only once in their opening 18 games.
Their extended good start enabled them to establish themselves in the top two and it is not easy finding someone who thinks they’ll finish outside that top two. But, being a ‘big club’ carries its burden too.
“The teams in this division see Wolves as a cup final and it’s like a cup-tie atmosphere when we turn up so it’s something we have to deal with,” says Jackett who has previously taken Swansea and Millwall to promotion.
They can expect another one tomorrow with the New York Stadium likely to be full - the club had just a few hundred tickets left yesterday (sales stop at 5pm tonight with no sales on Saturday).
“They have a talented manager and some very good players with a bit of class,” said Millers manager Steve Evans. “I originally said Peterbro’ as champions but about six weeks ago I changed and went for Wolves.
“We get excited at the thought of Wolves coming but also some trepidation because of the quality they have.
“Kenny was critical after the defeat to MK Dons last week but he’s taken teams to promotion before and knows what it takes and he knows if he sees a drop in application then ability will count for nothing.
“If we get our best players out there, and the application is right, then we can beat anyone in the division. They can smash teams at this level but if we’re at it, we won’t be one of them.”
Evans has Michael O’Connor available with other good news on the injury front as Joe Skarz, Pablo Mills and David Worrall are clear. Rob Milsom, who has an injection in his back, is expected to be available.