Wolves' comeback kids hoping for a chance to shine

Fresh off a morale-boosting victory in the FA Cup, Wolves are out to take that momentum into the Premier League as they host Everton.

Patrick Cutrone is battling Fabio Silva for a start – and head coach Nuno Espirito Santo is happy with the Italian striker’s fitness levels (AMA)
Patrick Cutrone is battling Fabio Silva for a start – and head coach Nuno Espirito Santo is happy with the Italian striker’s fitness levels (AMA)

Grabbing a long-awaited clean sheet in beating top-flight rivals Crystal Palace at Molineux last Friday, it acted as ideal preparation for tonight’s test against the Toffees.

After all, Wolves’ line-up is likely to look very similar to how it did against the Eagles.

The injury situation is pretty much where it was – Willy Boly, Fernando Marcal and Daniel Podence, along with long-term absentees Jonny Castro Otto and Raul Jimenez, not yet being ready.

Rui Patricio will come back in for John Ruddy between the sticks but, aside from that, there is a good chance things will remain the same.

Perhaps up for debate is who should play up front after Fabio Silva missed a couple of big opportunities in the third-round triumph, with the recalled Patrick Cutrone eager to make the most of his second chance.

On whether he is pleased with the fitness of the Italian, considering he struggled for game time while at Fiorentina, Nuno Espirito Santo said: “Yes. I’m happy because he can become a good option for us in the situation that we are in.

“We’re supportive of the moment that he is in, in terms of fitness and games.

“But we’re positive that he’s here to help us.”

Nuno, though, does have to consider whether Cutrone or Morgan Gibbs-White – called back from Swansea – are ready to start games just yet, with the latter only recently getting over a foot injury.

“They are options. They’ve worked well this week,” said Nuno. “What we have to be aware of is that Morgan is returning from injury and Patrick did not have too much time in game situations.

“He’s been training well, most of them are working very well, and it’s up to us to decide when.

“But they are going to be with the squad, so let’s see after.”

Those players returning to the fold, Cutrone especially, was a surprise.

But Nuno has explained the reasons for giving them another chance first before going into the market, admitting Brexit and Covid have made the January transfer window a difficult one to operate in.

“Yes, it’s true. Brexit, the protocols have changed,” he said. “All these situations affect all the clubs. When you start looking for options that can be valuable for you, it’s not the right moment to do it.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty in the future of everybody, so we have to be very careful on the decisions that we make.

“This is what we decided, to recall players we already knew – give them some time and see how we can move forward.

“That was one of the questions that we measured – players who already know our team and the way we work.

“Everybody in the squad has received them well, so positives on that.”

Leander Dendoncker is back from injury (PA)

While still waiting for a few to return from injury, Nuno is delighted to have Leander Dendoncker back.

The Belgian impressed against Palace, and Nuno added: “Of course, in the moment he joined us, he did not immediately start the games.

“Then the moment he started, he is very talented. He’s a fantastic player.

“He gives everything that he has for the team. He played a lot of games this season after the problem he had with the national team, Belgium. It was pushing him to his limits.

“He’s a very important player, so we’re delighted that he’s back.

“You can see that he’s a big help for us.”

Meanwhile, Everton will be without top scorer Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who has a hamstring issue.

Richarlison is also having a late fitness test.

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