4 March ~ "It is not a job for a novice," said Wolves chief executive Jez Moxey. And so, Terry Connor’s reign as Wolves boss was undermined a full 11 days before he was even appointed. There was an element of farce to the protracted appointment of Mick McCarthy’s successor, but that has now given way to a sense of goodwill towards his former assistant. At the very least, let’s see what he can do. Connor comes with impeccable references. "I owe him a lot," said Joleon Lescott. "He is one of the most influential coaches I have worked with in my career." Connor’s influence appeared to be in evidence at Newcastle last week. After their customary defensive mishaps, Wanderers showed tremendous spirit to salvage a draw.
Wolves remain a side deep in the mire and today's trip to Fulham will surely prove another tough assignment. Prior to this weekend, only the two Manchester clubs boasted better form in the Premier League over the last seven games. Fulham’s upturn in fortunes is emphasised by the fact they have managed as many wins in that period as they had assembled in the entire first half of the season.
Martin Jol seems to have succeeded in putting his own stamp on the side. After experiencing early teething problems, Jol’s position has been strengthened by the growing perception that he now has his own men within the ranks.
This was never more evident than last weekend in the 1-0 win at QPR. While former Fulham favourite Bobby Zamora, with whom Jol endured a fractious relationship, struggled for his new side, his bargain replacement at Craven Cottage, Pavel Pogrebnyak, bagged the winner.
Perhaps Jol is living proof that an inauspicious start need not lead to disaster. Connor will be well aware he can ill-afford a similar start. Should he replicate Jol’s 12 points from his opening 13 games, it would surely spell relegation for Wolves.
The fledgling manager appears confident he is better placed than most to make a more immediate impact: "I think the continuity has been vital with me knowing the players and knowing the dressing room. With a new manager there might have been a settling-in period and it might just have taken a while to adapt."
Maybe Connor's closeness to the players will allow him to hit the ground running. The result at Newcastle was a promising start. By 4pm today we will be a little closer to finding out how this particular drama will end. Adam Bate