For the second year running Wolves will be heading into the season with a head coach who will find the Championship an entirely new experience. This time, however, there is a potentially crucial difference. Whereas Walter Zenga barely had time to get his feet under the table before he was heading up to Rotherham for the first game of the season, Nuno Espirito Santo has more than two months in which to get settled before the serious action gets under way. This is a crucial period for the new boss, a chance to get acquainted with his new surroundings and when he is going to learn a great deal about his new players.
It probably goes without saying this is a big, big summer for Wolves. Whatever you think about the changes since the end of the season, there can be no question the owners are serious about getting the club back into the Premier League. They have already shown they are not afraid to act when they aren’t happy and Nuno will be under pressure to get results from the start.
The last thing we all want is a start like last season. Looking back, the campaign never really recovered from the inconsistency of the early weeks and the managerial change which saw Zenga replaced by Paul Lambert. If nothing else I am hoping this season will deliver a little more stability.
Preparations for the new season already appear to be well under way and two new signings have already been made in the shape of Ryan Bennett and Roderick Miranda. Both players will add competition to the backline and it will be interesting to see what kind of tactics Nuno intends to employ. Much has been made, understandably so, of his long-standing friendship with Jorge Mendes. There has been speculation over how this might impact on the players might be bringing over the summer. My hope is that we don’t end up with a similar situation to 12 months ago, when too many of the players brought in from foreign leagues struggled to adapt. The Championship is a tough league and to be successful I believe you ideally need to mix some of these imports with experienced, battle-worn players who know the division. Having access to someone like Mendes can clearly be a huge benefit and there are obviously going to be players of his that Wolves will take a look at. Hopefully the first two deals are a sign of things to come. Bennett is a player who knows the league well and could be a very shrewd acquisition on a free transfer. As with everything, it is all about finding the right blend.