When Paul Lambert was named as the new Wolves boss on Saturday it was arguably the worst kept secret in football.
While many supporters were hoping for a more exotic and thrilling appointment it appears owners Fosun have learned one thing that we’ve known all along – the Championship is not for novices.
For all Walter Zenga’s playing experience – and to be truthful managerial experience – he found it an unforgiving league especially having never coached in England before.
Step forward a man, in Lambert, who has knowledge of the Championship, and better yet someone who has tasted success with promotion to the Premier League at Norwich City in 2011.
There’s no doubt out the of names of serious candidates flying around in the last couple of week Lambert’s CV was the strongest and yet he still has much to do to convince Wolves fans he is the man to take us to the Premier League.
It’s the reality of modern football that the 47-year-old has many fans to win over and he’s yet to step foot in the technical area.
The truth is success at Colchester United (a club where he had them punching above their weight) and Norwich City is blemished by a poisonous era at Aston Villa and a forgettable stint as Blackburn Rovers boss where Lambert quit earlier this year.
Now 21 months after the Glaswegian parted company with Villa, Lambert is back in the Midlands and one thing for sure he has one hell of task on his hands.
So what can Lambert do to show he’s the man for the job?
Sure up that defence.
If you like the odd flutter then backing Wolves’ opponents to open the scoring inside 15 minutes seems a viable and sustainable investment at the moment.
Once again Wolves conceded early on at the weekend and any defensive plan might as well been tossed on the bonfire being held at Himley Hall.
Danny Batth is clearly suffering from a lack of confidence and to make matters worse, alongside him he has the inexperienced centre back Dominic Iorfa, the out of form Matt Docherty and the struggling Cameron Borthwick-Jackson – suddenly you can see why the defensive unit is a shambles.
Lambert has to get this right before anything else. Bringing Richard Stearman in alongside his old defensive partner Batth may be the first move, reverting Docherty to his favoured left back position may be another but restoring confidence in a brittle back four is absolutely essential.
Of course dropping Batth all together may be an option for the Scot. Something which may ‘sharpen the mind’ of the boy from Brierley Hill. A spell on a side line to assess his own performance could fire up the bruising centre half.
Sort out the attack.
There was a stat floating around over the weekend that just eight goals were scored by all of the strikers to play for Wolves in 2016.
Wolves are desperate for fire power.
For all his effort and for all his endeavour Bodvarsson is not a player to score 20 goals a season for the club and Nouha Dicko is yet to prove he can blossom at this level without his old playing pal Bakary Sako.
Unless Paul Gladon is some hidden gem that was overlooked by Zenga and Rob Edwards then Wolves will have to buy in January.
Lambert, in the mean time, will have to draw out the potential of Wolves’ attacking threat. In Helder Costa we have an intelligent and creative footballer who showed against Aston Villa that on his day can be a class above. But what may be a key move for Lambert is getting the best out our record signing Ivan Cavaleiro. He has shown glimpses of what he can do and Lambert could be the man to raise his game if he can give him a run of matches.
Define our style.
Lambert is somewhat of a cult hero over in Germany with Borussia Dortmund fans for marking Zinedine Zidane out of the game during the 1997 Champions League Final.
The new boss has a place in heart for the German game having earned his coaching badges in the country and spending months studying the training sessions of Dortmund and Bayern Munich.
If he can bring that style of play to Wolverhampton then we could have a match made in heaven between successful football and exciting football.
The German game relies on fast counter attacking football, with quick possession of the ball and a press gaming that starts from the front three.
Both Bayern and Borussia are the masters of this and it translates far easier into the rough and tumble of the Championship than the Spanish model of long periods of possession and bamboozling one-twos in around the final third.
Should Lambert get this across to Wolves – which fortunately wasn’t too dissimilar to formula Zenga was trying – then we could have much to look forward to in the remainder of the season.
Engage the fans.
I’ll let you in on a confession.
When Paul Lambert was sacked from Villa I was delighted.
Finally I wouldn’t have to see a man on the local news station who looked like he was living Billy Murray’s nightmare of Groundhog Day – except this particular day was a wet Wednesday in Rhyl – everyday!
His downbeat, downtrodden, ‘woe is me’ and uninspiring tones hardly had you puffing out your chest in pride after every post-match interview.
You couldn’t have got a man in charge further from the eccentric and erratic Zenga who blasted old school classics on his drive up to Compton Park – Lambert is much more of a Radiohead kind of guy.
There are many who have their doubts about our new head coach. There are many who looked at the candidates for the Wolves hotseat and like our American cousins thought ‘ Jesus, is this the best we’ve got?!’.
Wolves fans grew tired of Kenny Jackett’s straight laced and emotionless post-match interviews and once you tuned into the repetitive way he made excuses for poor results then you couldn’t tune out.
I fear if Lambert doesn’t get fans on side quickly and engage with them then the patience afforded to Kenny -and to an extent Zenga – won’t be there.
For 18 months Wolves have been bereft of quality which is harder to swallow when you were expecting a promotion challenge and even more when you’ve just seen your side taken over by a company with a seemingly bottomless pit of cash.
Lambert has already praise the noise created by the South Bank and admitted he was drawn by the club’s fanbase – this is a start.
But the new boss must engrain himself into the culture of Wolverhampton Wanderers and not become the isolated figure he was at Villa or he will be another lonely manager stood in the technical area with no-one in old gold and black willing to stand by his side.