WARY JACKETT LOOKS OVER HIS SHOULDER
AFIFTH win on the bounce set second-placed Wolves up nicely for next weekend’s massive clash at leaders Brentford – but cautious boss Kenny Jackett is looking down not up.
A double from midfielder Michael Jacobs handed Wolves a three-point cushion over third-placed Leyton Orient and kept visitors County mired in the bottom four.
Wolves also have a game in hand over the O’s in the automatic promotion race but Jackett insists there is too long to go this season to get carried away.
Jackett said: “Orient are very much in it and so are Preston and Rotherham because of the amount of games to play – with nine points to play for in an eight-day period, things can turn around.
“I don’t think there is enough of a gap to say we’re away from them – we’re just in a good position to capitalise and we can look at our own games rather than hope others slip up. It’s in our hands.
“The Brentford game is one to look forward to, we have to be enthusiastic about it right now and really look forward to the challenge because it is a big challenge for us.
“The stakes are so high and we are desperate to be successful this season and, looking at it, we have a very good opportunity to do that.”
Wolves were rarely in trouble from the moment Jacobs leapt majestically to beat Manny Smith in the air and powerfully head home Scott Golbourne’s 16th minute cross.
County’s only first-half chance came on the half-hour, Callum McGregor dragging a great opening wide after James Spencer’s back-heel.
Wolves had chances to double their lead but Bartosz Bialkowski thwarted two rockets from Bakary Sako and Nouha Dicko scuffed a glorious opportunity wide from ten yards after the break.
But Jacobs put the game to bed on 53 minutes as his speculative daisycutter from 25 yards sneaked in off the foot of Bialkowski’s post.
Bialkowski prevented a rout by foiling James Henry and Dicko while Jack Grealish could have pulled one back for County but missed a sitter, heading Jamal Campbell-Ryce’s cross over from four yards.
It was a fourth defeat in five games for County boss Shaun Derry, who said: “At 1-0, Callum goes through and if you want it to fall to anybody in a Notts County shirt, it’s him, but unfortunately he didn’t hit the target.
“But I’m clutching at straws if I’m honest, I thought the best team definitely won. It’s like when you go to a top six in the Premier League – they are added points if you get anything from these type of games. You have to be absolutely right on top of your game.
“I’m definitely looking at the bottom eight or nine teams, those we have to play between now and the end of the season, those are the ones that will define where we stand
come May. But I’m confident.”
WOLVES: (4-5-1): Ikeme 6, Golbourne 8, Stearman 7, Batth 8, Ricketts 7, Sako 8 (Evans 82 5), Jacobs 9, McDonald 7, Price 7, Henry 7, Dicko 7 Subs not used: McCarey, Doherty, Elokobi, Ebanks-Landell, Keita, McAlinden
NOTTS COUNTY: (4-4-2): Bialkowski 8, Roberts 5, Sheehan 5, Smith 5, Freeman 4, Grealish 6, Mullins 5, Boucaud 5 (Fotheringham 77 5), Campbell-Ryce 7, McGregor 5 (Appiah 60 5), Spencer 5 (Murray 60 5) Subs not used: Speiss, Hollis, Tempest, Showunmi
GOLDEN BOYS: Michael Jacobs celebrates scoring Wolves’ first goal with teammates
ON THE STRETCH: Nouha Dicko takes a shot for Wolves
STAR MAN MICHA