Shropshire Star

A colour coded push to Wolves safety

The original Star Wars. The Godfather. Back to the Future. Lord of the Rings. Naked Gun. Everyone has a favourite film trilogy.

Defender Jody Craddock found his shooting boots to score as Wolves battled their way to a 2-2 draw away to a Villa side riding high in the Premier League

In sport? Muhammed Ali against Joe Frazier. Larry Bird against Magic Johnson in the NBA Finals. Federer against Nadal at Wimbledon.

Speak to the Wolves class of 2009/10, the first Molineux squad to survive in the Premier League, and the answer to their favourite trilogy would be unequivocal.

A march in March through the Claret and Blue. See what we did there? Because across 11 days in March, in three away games against Burnley, Villa and West Ham, Wolves went from being in stark danger of relegation, to pretty much home and hosed for survival. An incredible return of seven points on the road which ensured that, a few weeks later, Premier League status was secured.

For the first time since, Wolves are lining up against the Premier League trio in successive fixtures with Saturday’s rare defeat at Villa, last night’s trip to Burnley and Saturday’s home game with West Ham.

Same opponents, different order.

Different ambitions too, with Wolves, despite a glut of key injuries, entering the season’s home straight battling away at a more upwardly mobile end of the table with dreams still of European qualification.

Far cry from 14 years ago.

Adlene Guedioura celebrates

“When I think back, I can remember what a big week it was for us at that time,” recalls winger Matt Jarvis, who was to play a key role in all three games. “Burnley and West Ham were down there among it with us, and Villa was a massive derby.

“We all knew it was a huge week, it was common knowledge and it was all over the media.”

Karl Henry was Wolves skipper at the time, leading the team in all three fixtures.

“Generally in football, you look at batches of a games during a season – yes to an extent it’s the cliché of taking each one as it comes but Mick (McCarthy) would have looked at those three with us collectively as well,” he insists. “I can’t exactly recall what he would have been expecting, but looking at three away games, for Wolves at that time I reckon you’d be looking at three or four points as a decent return. Every point you take away from home in the Premier League is a good one, whoever you are playing against, so to end up with what we did made for a brilliant few days.”

To set the scene, Wolves went into the trio of fixtures fourth from bottom in the table, ahead on goal difference only of Burnley and Hull in the two places below, with Portsmouth cut adrift.

Since beating Burnley at home in the wake of the infamous 10 changes trip to Manchester United, Wolves had won just one in 10 in the Premier League, that thanks to David Jones finishing off an excellent team goal to clinch an excellent double against Tottenham.

Matt Jarvis was on the mark for Wolves against West Ham at Upton Park

Little wonder they had slumped from 12th to 17th in the table. Little wonder it was a big week-and-a-half ahead, starting at Turf Moor.

It was wing wizard Jarvis who broke the deadlock, and the tension, with the opening goal after seizing on an undercooked header from Tyrone Mears in the 26th minute.