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Match Preview: Forest v Wolves

We spoke to all-round nice bloke Adam Bate about the new Wolverhampton Wanderers. They're just quietly getting on with being pretty bloody good to watch and successful. Makes a change...

Gareth Copley/Getty Images

So, play-offs still on, then?

The title is still on! No, we’ve been playing catch-up for much of the season so the pressure is off really. It’s all set up for us to lose to Mick McCarthy’s Ipswich in our penultimate game at Molineux but the mood is generally optimistic as it’s a young team playing decent football. The last two games are against teams who could well be already relegated by then so if we’re still clinging on after 44 matches then you never know...

That 'No Jackett required' gag feels a long way off. How impressed are you with your manager?

I like him a lot and thought he was a good appointment from day one - thankfully I even wrote as much when a poll in the local paper was calling for Owen Coyle so I feel vindicated there. He’s handled a difficult situation really sensibly and just seems a nice chap. He seems a good fit in the sense that he’s probably at an age where he’s unlikely to get a better job but is equally unlikely to do anything too mental. Hopefully. he’ll be around for a long while to come.

As an outsider, is seems as if the club has gone deliberately quiet, preferring to just get on with things rather than make extravagant signings or shout from the rooftops?

I think the chastening experience of the double relegation has caused the owner Steve Morgan and chief executive Jez Moxey to be a little bit more circumspect (there was talk of building a 50,000 stadium and cracking the Premier League top six not long ago!). More significantly, we’ve gone back to the model for the 2009 Championship title win of signing young and motivated players who want to achieve something in the game.

You've even lost Kevin Doyle. Wiped away the tears yet?

Well, he’s still here until the end of the season before going to play for Colorado Rapids and funnily enough there’s plenty of goodwill there. He was immense in keeping us up in that first season in the Premier League in 2009/10 and just seemed to lose his way due to playing as a defensive striker for so long. As a result, when we dropped down the leagues he couldn’t really remember how to score. Even so, unlike many others, he’s always said the right things about the club and there’d be a nice symmetry to it if he could help us back into the Premier League before leaving.

Have you got the most exciting strike force in the league?

Benik Afobe looks a wonderful prospect. He’s just kept scoring goals and looks really composed for his age. We’ve had most of our success under Jackett playing 4-5-1 but reached a point in January where we weren’t scoring too many and it looked like the season would fizzle out so he made the change to 4-4-2 in the knowledge that we’d be more vulnerable. It’s paid off with Nouha Dicko and Afobe causing teams a lot of problems. Dicko, in particular, is a lot more fun to watch than his respectable goal tally (11 in 33) indicates.

We have to talk about Bakary Sako. Should we be annoyed we missed out?

I think you should because he’s one of the best players in the Championship. You rarely see that combination of power and skill. It’s a bit weird, to be honest. He’s built like a centre-back and then he’s doing stepovers. I think the question is whether or not he can do it in the Premier League because he’s one of those guys who tries to make things happen almost every time he gets it. I think Alan Pardew spoke about needing mavericks like Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie but the truth is that the bottom half of the Premier League isn’t full of managers who see it like that. Someone will probably give Sako that chance though and with him being out of contract in the summer that almost certainly means he’ll be off.

Even if you miss out on the top six, is this a summer for Wolves to tinker rather than meddle too much with the squad?

I wouldn’t expect big changes. Some even think it’s too soon for promotion, although I’d argue that you take the chance whenever you can get it. The finances are interesting because this is our last year of parachute payments so the income will go down but it’s also the last year paying off a lot of the big contracts. It remains to be seen whether than means a leaner and meaner operation or just a club that’s downsizing. It’s a young squad though so there’s the hope of improvement.

Finally, have we seen the last of Wolves in the third tier?

Well, it required some pretty spectacularly bad decision making to pull it off last time. Stale Solbakken would have kept us up if he’d stayed, Dean Saunders might even have managed it with a full season, but together they made for a terrifying concoction. Never say never though. If you learn anything from supporting a football team, it’s surely that there’s always another disaster looming around the corner.

You can follow Adam Bate on the Twitters by going to @GhostGoal. It's his alter-ego.