A look at Wolves' horrific play-off near miss history

General view outside the stadium before the match - Molineux

Whilst Wolverhampton Wanderers are going through a period of optimism right now, it's important to remember past failures in order to spur the team on.

For many years Wolverhampton Wanderers have flirted with the idea of promotion to the Premier League, achieving it most recently in the 2008/09 season. However both before and after their three years in the top flight, they've experienced relentless heartache when it comes to pushing for the play-offs.

Now yes, the club did manage to win the 2003 play-off final, but it seemed as if they were destined not to replicate that success in the years following if their track record is anything to go by. For example in terms of actual appearances in the end of season competition, aside from the Cardiff triumph they only appeared in the 2006/07 play-offs during which they were defeated 4-2 on aggregate by bitter rivals West Bromwich Albion.

Ipswich manager Mick McCarthyIpswich manager Mick McCarthy

The year before, Wolves registered the first of many seventh place finished as they ended up eight points off of the top six following the 46-game season. That seems pretty devastating if you look at it purely based on position, but compared to 2007/08 it was heartbreaking. The reason for that is Wolves only missed out on sixth place by one goal. Their +5 goal difference was just edged out by Watford's +6, with both teams ending up on 70 points.

Molineux - general viewMolineux - general view

It would seem as if that kind of pain would never be replicated, but upon their promotion back to the Championship their play-off fate once again came down to goal difference. This time round they were just four goals off of Ipswich Town, managed of all people by ex-Wolves boss Mick McCarthy.

The play-offs is a painful and unpredictable method to get promotion. It is easier said than done of course, but moving forward the club should put all their attention on automatic promotion, as opposed to settling for the top six.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch