Matt Jarvis could hold the key for Mick McCarthy’s men

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December is upon us and along with it comes snow and freezing temperatures. These weekends always bring worries of postponed games but hopefully the ground staff across the country will be able to ensure most games go ahead.

For Wolves, the weekend brings a frosty trip up to deepest, darkest Lancashire to face a Blackburn side still wounded from the humiliation of a 7-1 demolition at the hands of Manchester United. It is so rare to see a Sam Allardyce side that fails to even compete.

So you could say that this is a good time to be playing Rovers; especially after Big Mick's side fought back so well against Sunderland last weekend. The Blackburn players will, no matter how hard they try not to, feel abject after conceding seven last weekend whereas the Wolves players will be keen to follow up their victory with another three points.

Mick and his side will be wary, however, of the prospect of playing at Ewood Park; it's not exactly the easiest of grounds to travel to on the best of days. Indeed, in their last home game against Villa, Allardyce's side outplayed Gerard Houllier's side across the park and came away with a well-earned 2-0 victory. Even the mighty Chelsea struggled to a 1-2 win here earlier in the year.

So maybe things are evenly balanced between the two sides going into the game - but both managers will have very different team talks before their sides take the field on Saturday afternoon.

On one hand, the home manager will have to lift his players; tell them to forget about the United game and instil the belief in them that they can win. On the other side, Mick McCarthy will be telling his players that, potentially, if everything goes their way, they could within touching distance of safety by Sunday morning. If this isn't reason enough to go out and give your all, I don't know what is.

One of the players that McCarthy will be relying on to perform - and who you might say has been their best player over the course of the season - is Matt Jarvis. It comes as no surprise to those Wolves fans who turn up to most games that he's started to catch the eye of a certain Italian in charge of the England squad.

The young winger has been at the centre of so much positivity for Wolves so far this campaign that he's solidified his place in the starting line-up - he could even be first name on the team sheet. He is a proper winger, who likes to take full backs on, take them for pace and deliver for his strikers in the box.

On Saturday, he'll most likely be up against Pascal Chimbonda, and you have to think that Jarvis will be able to get the better of the French defender on more than one occasion over 90 minutes.

The danger player for Blackburn has to be Morten Gamst-Pedersen; the Norwegian who burst onto the scene with some stunning displays and goals against Manchester United when Mark Hughes was in charge of the Lancastrians. He seems to have rediscovered this form recently and he'll be a real headache for the Wolves defence to face. Hopefully, whoever McCarthy calls upon in defence will be up to the task; if not, it could turn into a long afternoon for the visitors.

The Wolves faithful, as well as the manager and staff, will have a keen eye on what's happening elsewhere in the league. On Saturday Wigan host Tony Pulis's strong Stoke side and Fulham are away at The Emirates. If both were to lose and Wolves took all three points, they would find themselves in the drop zone only on goal difference - a far better position than two weeks ago when there was already talk of inevitable relegation.

A win is also important as West Ham don't play until Sunday; a Wolves loss would surely give them an extra boost before their away day at Sunderland; lifting themselves off the bottom of the table for the first time this season could easily be the start of their battle to safety.

Whatever happens elsewhere, McCarthy will be fully focused on the job in hand. Wins are so important when you're at the wrong end of the table and the boss will know just how vital three more points will be.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.
Premier League
Matthew Jarvis
Wolverhampton Wanderers

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