The Opposition View: Wolves

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 02 October 2009
As Pompey prepare for their latest "biggest game of the season", I posed some questions to Wolves fan Nikki Moseley, who holds a home and away season ticket.

After the euphoria of promotion, how do you think Wolves have settled in to the Premier League?

It's been a promising start. Pretty much all of our players had no experience of football at this level before and taking that into consideration, we've done well. The only really below par performance was at Blackburn, but other than that we've competed well and are perhaps unlucky to only have 7 points at this stage.

Is Mick McCarthy viewed as a
Wolverhampton legend after achieving promotion from the Championship and do you have faith that he'll keep you up despite his last ill-fated stint in the Premiership with Sunderland?

Most definitely not a legend around here! He splits opinions like no other. Despite winning the league, we played poorly for long spells of last season. We needed to step up big time to even make a fist of it this year, and I feel we have. He has his faults but overall he's overseen a very exciting period for the club, and assembled a team that wants to play for the shirt. I'm confident we'll stay up - McCarthy's spell at Sunderland has very little relevance to us now. It was a different club at a different time, and it seems he's learnt from his mistakes.

How have the summer signings fared since the start of the season?

A mixed bag - the main nucleus of our team was at the club last season. Some players have had few opportunities due to injuries or otherwise, such as Ronald Zubar, Marcus Hahnemann and former Saint (or 'Scummer'!) Drew Surman. Greg Halford can drift out of a game but is useful for his flick ons and huge throws. 6ft 7 Stefan Maierhofer has only just arrived, so we've seen little of him or Segundo Castillo. The main success stories have been, predictably, Kevin Doyle and centre back Michael Mancienne.

Is this match the most important of the season so far for Wolves given that you could put yourselves 10 points clear of Pompey with a win or get dragged right into the relegation scrap if you lost?

I wouldn't say it's the most important so far - 3 points is on offer in every game. However, should we lose, I could see a few fans getting slightly nervous - even only in October!

What do you make of Pompey this season? Are we nailed on certainties for relegation or do you think we can turn it around?

7 straight losses at the start of a season tell a story, but there's still a huge amount of time to turn it around. Paul Hart seems to have been a baffling managerial appointment and obviously there are financial concerns. Wolves have to view Pompey as rivals at the bottom end of the table but it's far too early to say if you'll go down. From an outsider's viewpoint I can't see Hart lasting in his role for much longer.

What are the main strengths of your team? Are there any particular players we need to keep a close eye on?

We'll look to replicate our performance against Fulham where we played fast, attacking football with decent wingers. Keogh and Doyle's movement should be threatening and we always have the option of Halford's throw with Maierhofer - who is taller than Peter Crouch - coming off the bench.

Are there any big weaknesses in your side that Pompey may be able to exploit?

Defensively we're still making big mistakes so keeping a clean sheet seems doubtful. Our players display a little naivety so we could be caught out on the break. We're a battling team too but if we lose our rhythm then heads can drop and we can start hoofing it forwards ineffectively.

It has been a while since Pompey fans last made the trip to Molineux. What's the ground like and can we expect a decent atmosphere from the home fans?

A far more interesting ground than a lot in the Premier League. It could do with a lick of paint and a bit of rebuilding but overall the facilities are decent and it feels like a proper football stadium. The atmosphere should be good with Wolves going for the win but unfortunately the crowd can be silenced early on. Wolves fans will get a little irritated with the bell, I should imagine, if it features!

How will the match go on Saturday? Predict the score.

I can't go against my own team here. Wolves 3 Portsmouth 1.

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