On Saturday, Wolves drew 2-2 against Ipswich Town at Portman Road, with the away side coming from behind twice, thanks to goals from James Henry and Benik Afobe, to share the points.
However, it was the men in gold and black that started the brighter of the two sides. Former Wolves man Christophe Berra superbly tackled the rampant Dominic Iorfa before Jordan Graham had a shot bravely blocked by Tommy Smith after cutting in from the left-hand side.
Graham was a threat throughout the game. After Wolves fell behind to a Freddie Sears goal, arguably against the run of play, the former Aston Villa winger had a big hand in the equalising goal. His corner was met by Newcastle loanee Mike Williamson, who nodded it down for Henry to finish.
Graham remained a constant thorn in the side of Ipswich until his substitution in the 77th minute because of injury, when he was replaced by Sheyi Ojo. He won free-kicks in his defensive half, relieving the pressure on his defence, and had the confidence to drive at the Ipswich defence. He had the skill and trickery to move the ball onto his right foot and get shots away, or to beat the right-back Luke Chambers for pace and get to the byline to cross. His willingness to work tirelessly in the left channel for the team and his belief with the ball at his feet are positive signs.
The pace and power of Graham is something that Wolves have missed this season following the departure of Bakary Sako last summer. The fans have become used to being excited by speed and skill on either flank in recent years. Sako, James Henry, Michael Jacobs, Michael Kightly (sorry) and Matt Jarvis have dazzled in the Old Gold shirt in the past few seasons. Henry seems to be, and rightly so in my opinion, one of the first names on the team sheet this season, leaving Jackett with lots of options to choose from to play on the left side.
Dave Edwards, Sheyi Ojo, Rajiv van La Parra, Nathan Byrne and Jed Wallace have already started on the left side this season, but Graham had to wait until Saturday to be given his chance.
He was recalled from a loan spell at Oxford United at the end of October as a result of the club’s injury crisis. The injury list mainly contained defenders, but with Van La Parra also crocked, Jackett clearly felt more cover was required.
United manager Michael Appleton said following his departure after such a short stay in an interview with the Express and Star: “We wish him well and will certainly keep an eye on his progress”.
He also mentioned that the young winger had made a positive impact during his time at the Kassam Stadium, and believed that he had a wonderful opportunity to break into the first team – a bold prediction that has eventually been proven correct.
I believe that Graham should retain his starting place in the club’s next game, on Saturday against MK Dons at Molineux. With The Dons sitting in 22nd place in the table, Jackett shouldn’t be afraid of sticking with Graham on the left side of midfield.