Football: In what was the 100th meeting between two clubs embarking on a new era of management, Wolves and Blackburn shared the spoils in a tight match at Molineux.
Wolves dispensed with the services of Stale Solbakken after just over six months in charge following their shock FA Cup defeat to non-league side Luton last weekend.
The Midlands club acted swiftly and appointed former Doncaster Rovers manager Dean Saunders, who became their fourth boss in less than a year after the departure of Mick McCarthy and the brief tenure of Terry Connor.
“I walked into the canteen on Monday morning knowing that we had a game on the Friday and I said: 'Can you get all the lads in the canteen,' and I walked in and it looked like there was about 500 people in there,” said Saunders after the game.
“When I looked around I was surprised how many players we’ve got and how many staff we’ve got and I just told them we are going to start doing well.
“I know what they need and really (in) football there is no secret — it’s about getting good players to work hard."
He concluded: “Something's wrong because you never get a job unless something is wrong. And I’ve got the job because something is wrong so I’ve got to get to the bottom of it."
Blackburn themselves parted company with Henning Berg at the end of December after a less than impressive 57 days in charge of the Lancashire side in which he won just once in 10 matches.
Prior to kick-off Michael Appleton, who wasn’t present at the game, was named as Berg’s Successor — and their third manager of the season — despite being in charge of Blackpool for just two months after leaving Portsmouth.
Since Berg's departure, caretaker Gary Bowyer — reserve team manager since 2009 — had guided Rovers to three league and cup wins with the help of youth-team counterpart Terry McPhillips.
But Bowyer was happy to hand over the reigns to Appleton and return to his role of youth development at Ewood Park. He said: “My emotions at the moment are fine. I’ve worked for the football club for a long time and when you work as long as we have for the football club you become attached to it.
“We are just delighted that we’ve got a manager coming in that can provide us with some stability and he has worked under several good managers as well and he’s a good coach. I know that from his youth days when he was in charge at West Brom and we are just looking forward to working with him.
“He (Appleton) gave me a call before kick-off and just wished us all the best and wished the team all the best. We said we would speak on Monday. We are all going out scouting tomorrow and we’ll meet on Monday morning.”
And it was the away side who took the lead midway through the first-half when Jordan Rhodes coolly slotted home from the penalty spot after Bakary Sako had challenged Ruben Rochina in the area.
Saunders felt the decision for the penalty was “dodgy.” He said: “It’s live on television. There’s a big crowd and a young linesman on the far side. (He) probably told all his family he was on Sky Sports tonight and running the line, which is boring by the way.
“Sometimes you’re running up and down, not getting anything to do, freezing cold. So give a couple of offsides, camera will go on my face so at least the family will know I was there.
“And then he gives the penalty — (he) couldn’t wait. The referee didn’t give the penalty, the young linesman couldn’t wait to give the penalty and it’s not a penalty when you look at it again.”
But Wolves drew level when second-half substitute Jamie O’Hara picked out Roger Johnson whose diving header earned his side a deserved point.
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