Saunders believes hard line works just fine when dealing with players

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Dean Saunders wants to instil a strict army-style regime at Wolves as he attempts to turn their season around, starting in tonight’s Championship encounter against Blackburn.

Erstwhile Doncaster Rovers chief Saunders took over at Molineux on Monday following the dismissal of Stale Solbakken in the aftermath of Saturday’s humiliating FA Cup exit at the hands of non-League Luton, and the new man is keen to make his mark.

The Welshman believes discipline is the key and is set on implementing quickly changes to move away from Solbakken’s more relaxed approach.

“Football is a watered-down version of the army, discipline-wise,” said Saunders. “In the army, you clean your shoes, tidy your bed and do things you don’t want to do, you must obey orders.

“When a manager tells you to do something, you do it. The overall thinking is when we go to battle you get instructions you must comply with and you get used to obeying instructions and respecting authority. Fining them and disciplining them gets the team right on the pitch.”

Saunders has also promised each player a clean slate, which could be welcome news for Jermaine Pennant, whose three-month loan deal from Stoke is due to end next week.

Pennant has struggled to make an impact since his arrival in October but Saunders wants to see what the winger is capable of.

Saunders said: “I might play him on Friday. I’ve given him a clean sheet of paper.”

Blackburn moved a step closer to naming their third manager this season after Blackpool gave them permission to open talks with Michael Appleton.

Rovers made an official approach to their Championship counterparts on Wednesday night and former Portsmouth boss Appleton, who only took the reins at Bloomfield Road on November 7, appears set to succeed Henning Berg at Ewood Park.

Blackpool first-team coach Ashley Westwood will also discuss terms with Rovers.