We’re still not safe. Despite what you’ll be told by most it’s not mathematically a done deal so we shouldn’t be taking owt for granted. But still, Wolves and Wigan are a blueprint we should do our best to avoid.
They’ve been up a few years now, in fact Wolves have been there or thereabouts for much longer. But as I said, they’ve been in around the dogfight all the while without improving their side enough to pull away. Without wanting to be aligned with them Stoke have done, only this season have their safety looked under threat.
The Potters have bought players of Premier League experience and quality. We may not agree with their style but we all know it’s effective. Wolves on the other hand have not. Or at least they haven’t done so consistently enough, Doyle and Fletcher aside.
Getting back to us, you could well argue we’re going about it slightly differently. Lambert has taken it upon himself to nurture players for the club; our future and theirs. They’ve all been investments. Players that other clubs would have picked up later on in their careers once their trade had been honed.
If Lambert decides as we expect and doesn’t go down the route of signing a Stefanovic or Sibierski he’ll need to maintain this impressive hit rate. He hasn’t got one wrong yet, heck he’s even chiseled Wilbraham a little cult-hero niche. So if he and we are to stride away from the trapdoor, we’ll have to continue picking up players with the drive and ability -and ability to fulfill- as consistently as we have.
It’s the difficult second album. But, thankfully Lambert and complacency don’t go. McNally knows that how tough it is going to get after this first year, hence why the plans for the development of the ground are held off for at three years in the top flight.
Safety this year won’t mean we’re out of the woods, but we ain’t half in a good place right now.