Hennessey refusal hard to take

Sunday 5th January 2014 22:23

Wayne Hennessey: Refused to play for Wolves against Gillingham

Wayne Hennessey: Refused to play for Wolves against Gillingham

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Wolves FanZoner Karl Sears rues another setback and blasts Wayne Hennessey for refusing to play in the defeat to Gillingham.

Brentford, Leyton Orient, Preston, Peterborough and Walsall must be loving this.

I envisioned a season of dizzying highs: top for the duration, untouchable in our dominance and feeling sorry for visiting teams as they leave Molineux with no points and a significantly damaged goal difference.

Was that prediction too 'out there'? Football isn't played on paper (though sometimes I wish it were) but with our squad, our parachute payments and the wages that we pay a first-placed finish should have been what we were aiming for.

For much of the season, things were looking good. The goals weren't exactly flowing, and the football wasn't always great, but wins were plentiful and additions to our 'goals against' column were reassuringly scarce.

On November 26 we had just redefined the term 'comfortable win' after beating Tranmere. We were breathing down the neck of Leyton Orient and had a large, fluffy cushion between us and third place. Then we lose at Peterborough and the wheels don't just come loose, they completely fall off.

In a sense, our Christmas run wouldn't be so bad had our rivals not been in red-hot winter form. Including our visit to London Road, our run reads LLDWDDL. Brentford's reads WWWWWW and Preston's WDLWWW - the chasing pack are now becoming the leading pack.

Annoyingly, I think we're actually playing fairly well: we're dominating games and we've undoubtedly played our last four opponents off the park. But unfortunately match results aren't decided on ball retention and passes made, it's on goals scored - a factor on which we're struggling on two counts.

Our strikers are so off colour that they're not even on the spectrum. For whatever reason Kenny Jackett has lost faith in Leigh Griffiths in favour of goalless Jake Cassidy, while Bjorn Sigurdarson (remember him?) continues to watch Kevin Doyle fail to add to his three goal tally from the bench.

But perhaps our strikers might trouble opposing goalkeepers more if they were given more chances to do so. Our biggest problem in the Gillingham farce was that for all of the possession we had, we maybe tested their goalkeeper once, possibly twice?

I doubt I've ever seen a team possess such a loud bark with so little bite. Gillingham clearly knew how to play against us and executed their game plan wonderfully.

The game already felt like a defeat, so I took the late goal in my stride. But in the 92 minutes that preceded the goal mouth scramble, I'd rather enjoyed the performance of Aaron McCarey.

He had few shots to save, but in awful conditions for goalkeepers he came for crosses confidently and, for the most part, comfortably. It was refreshing to see a young goalkeeper making his debut being be so in charge of his penalty box.

But why did McCarey play? Because our once favourite son Wayne Hennessey refused to play, that's why. For all of the players that have wanted out in the past - Fletcher, Kightly, Camara, this one hurts the most.

The player that the club and fans had stood by throughout two serious injuries has paid us the ultimate insult - the #modern footballer' syndrome.

In many of my past articles I've sung Hennessey's praises until my throat was sore, and while I still think Hennessey has the ability to be the best goalkeeper in the Premier League, his name has irretrievably been tarnished.

Preston at home is next, and this one is a big one. Peterborough was a big one to make a statement, Leyton Orient was a big one to hit the top, but Preston is the biggest yet to keep the pack at bay and a draw will not do. But in Jackett we continue to trust, well, I do anyway.

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