JACKETT HAPPY AS FAVOURITES
NEW boss Kenny Jackett admitted his Wolves side must improve if they are to live up to their billing as title favourites after his reign opened with a feisty goalless draw at Preston.
In a fixture celebrating two of the Football League’s founding members in its 125th season, there were few chances as both sides matched each other in a tough, physical contest.
And Jackett believes his side – who were without striker Kevin Doyle – have to become more of an attacking threat to compete for the title.
“It’s no surprise that we’d be tagged as favourites,” he said. “In terms of a changing group and team, it shows that you are never quite sure what you have until you get out there and play.
“In terms of the favourite tag, we have to make sure we do better on the ball, particularly in the second half as we didn’t have a shot on target and that’s where we can improve.
“In terms of Kevin, generally his wages are too high for where we are – that’s common knowledge.
“Between now and the end of the window there will be interest in him but in the meantime he’s not someone that I’m going to close the door on if he’s fit and the team needs him.”
The visitors created the better chances early on, with Bakary Sako forcing Declan Rudd into a low save on 13 minutes, before firing well over from distance on 22.
Leigh Griffiths, starting his first Wanderers game after two successful years on loan at Hibernian, was later denied by John Welsh’s headed goal-line clearance on 37 minutes.
Preston new boy Kevin Davies was a constant menace for the visitors and went close within a minute of the restart as Carl Ikeme charged down his shot, which then deflected narrowly wide.
Neither side were able to break the deadlock, but Preston boss Simon Grayson was still satisfied with a point to start the new season.
“It was a good opening day fixture for us,” he said. “There was a lot of endeavour, good attitude from both sets of players and the work rate was there from our point of view.
“The first thing you want to do first game of the season is make sure you don’t get beaten. I think we can be really pleased with how we performed.
“There was some good individual performances. I don’t normally pick out players but I thought Tom Clarke was excellent.
“Kevin Davies is a handful, he uses his body extremely well, he gets into good positions and he wins a few free-kicks.
“Every centre-half will know they’ve been in a game come the end of the season when they’ve played against Kevin and we’re delighted that we have him in our team.
“Although obviously you’ll try to win the game, hence why I went to 4-4-2 for the last five minutes. “We can be really pleased
with how we performed.”
BIG CLASH: David Davis and Bjorn Sigurdarson duel with Preston’s Keith Keane and Will Hayhurst in the battle in midfield JUMP: Jake Cassidy, left, in action with Preston’s Billy Wright