The jokes about Tomasz Frankowksi's lack of scoring ability have come thick and fast over the past three-and-a-half months.

Since arriving for £1.4 million from Spain in January with the entirely deserved reputation of being a goal machine, Wolverhampton Wanderers boss Glenn Hoddle's most expensive signing has proved the flop of the season.

Of the 16 games when the pocket-sized Polish international striker has been available for selection, he has started 11 and made five forays from the bench, yet he has failed to score.

It is no surprise, then, that in the time it has taken Wolves to transform themselves from genuine play-off contenders into also-rans, he should have been tagged 'the Pole without a goal' among other less flattering descriptions.

But his Wolves manager is still backing him to have the last laugh by scoring goals for fun again - possibly as soon as this summer's World Cup finals in Germany.

Frankowski has hit ten goals in 17 games for his country, the last three of them having come in his last three starts, while still with Spanish club Elche. The most recent of those goals for the Poles was at Old Trafford, on the night England booked their passage to Germany as group winners back in October.

It is that sort of 'form is temporary, class is permanent' belief that still convinces Hoddle he was not sold a pup and that, even though time may not be on his side at 32, Frankowski will come good and start troubling defences again.

"If you're a betting man, you'd have a punt on him going and scoring in the first game of the World Cup," said Hoddle. "All he needs is a goal.

"Look at Peter Crouch for Liverpool. He waited a long time for his first but, with any good striker, as soon as they get one, you know they'll get more.

"Strikers thrive on the confidence of scoring goals and, once they get that one, they become a different animal."

Frankowski has also shown himself to be more than just a mere poacher, with a string of assists, especially in his early games for Wolves but Hoddle is the first to admit that the misery of drawing a blank, week after week, has now got to him.

"He's been honest enough to admit that it has affected him mentally," said Hoddle. "His anxiety is there because he can't believe he's gone this long without a goal.

"But, in his all-round play, he's proved a better player than I thought he was, because I had him down as just a box man and I know that if he stays here with us or goes somewhere else, he will score goals.

"I have to be honest enough to say that, in the three-anda-half months he's been with us, it's not worked out as we'd have wanted.

"You have to say that it has been frustrating for him and for me but he needs to be judged over the in long term. The boy is a goal machine, who's scored wherever he's gone and we're just baffled as him as to why the goals have dried up."

* What do you think? Visit our messageboard and give us your opinion. *