Wolves duo are set to miss part of next season

Boss Nuno Espirito Santo admits Wolves must plan for defenders Willy Boly and Romain Saiss missing a chunk of next season – but not just yet.

Romain Saiss of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Willy Boly (AMA)
Romain Saiss of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Willy Boly (AMA)

Centre-halves Boly and Saiss could both be away for a month of 2021/22 after recently helping Ivory Coast and Morocco respectively qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations.

The tournament – delayed due to Covid-19 – is set to take place from January 9 until February 6 next year and, as a result, could leave Wolves short at the back and add to the need to reinforce that area in the summer transfer window.

But Nuno, while acknowledging the issue, insists it is not high on his list of priorities right now.

“Yes, January and February is the Africa Cup of Nations,” he said. “So, we have to predict and try to plan, and try to decide. But it’s very far away.

“I’m not looking at that part now, honestly. All of the things, you know how busy I am.”

Boly – like Saiss with Morocco – helped Ivory Coast qualify over last month’s international break but since returning, he has tested positive for Covid-19 and is set to miss Friday’s trip to Fulham.

Having sat out Monday night’s 3-2 defeat to West Ham, he is also a doubt for the clash with Sheffield United at Molineux a week on Sunday.

Nuno, while looking to end what has been a difficult campaign in a positive manner, has urged Premier League managers to come together to ensure preparations for next season are as good as possible.

Given the restrictions around travel brought on by the pandemic, Wolves do not yet have a firm plan in place as to what they will do and where they will go for pre-season – having previously enjoyed intensive training camps abroad.

And Nuno feels bosses should come together, via the League Managers’ Association (LMA), and help each other out, even if it means league rivals playing each other before the season gets under way.

“Everybody, the quality of the competition is the responsibility of everyone involved – clubs, Premier League, referees, fans, media,” he said.

“In terms of teams and managers, try to find a platform understanding that if the restrictions do not allow us to leave the UK, maybe we can find an understanding that we can be close to each other in terms of preparation games. Maybe we cannot bring teams from France, Germany, Spain, Portugal to play us due to the restrictions.

“If they have to isolate for 10 days, I don’t believe any manager we ask to come and play a friendly at Molineux will bring their team here as that will disturb their own preparation.

“So, this is the platform I mean inside the LMA.

“Just a meeting will be enough to consider different options.”

On if he believes other managers share his view, Nuno added: “I am sure of it because we share our opinions when there was a project to return (Project Restart) and we had to decide between ourselves to give opinions and freely, without the pressure of the aspect of competition.

“We cannot be obsessed about that. I know we are always competitive as managers, we try to keep things to ourselves, secrets – maybe this is the moment we require a different approach.

“I am positive many managers are thinking about that, knowing we have to find different solutions.”

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