Shropshire Star

Wolves v West Ham: Molineux form will be key to Wolves’ Euro ambitions

Gary O’Neil admits Wolves must do well in their final home games to secure a place in Europe, as West Ham prepare to visit Molineux tomorrow.


A draw with Burnley on Tuesday night took Wolves to 42 points and beyond last season’s total.

Wolves are just three points off the Hammers, with a game in hand, and still have it all to play for when they come up against one of their European rivals tomorrow.

With Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool to play within their final six games, O’Neil says Wolves must take advantage of upcoming fixtures to stay in the race.

“If we want to keep pushing and putting points on the board, there are opportunities in all of them, but by the time we get to the back end of the season there are some tough fixtures,” he said.

“Hopefully by that point we’ll have players back.

“We have some home games against teams around us or below us in the league that we have to make sure we do well in.

“The goal is to finish as high as possible.

“It’s never been a top seven focus, it’s to finish as high as we can.

“I’d love us to finish in the top seven. The lads would obviously love it and they’re pushing as hard as they can.

“It’s just been made more difficult by the situation. That doesn’t mean we can’t achieve it, it just means we have to work a bit harder and find a different way.

“We’re not as free-flowing as we have been and not quite as deadly and incisive, but we still have the same amount of fight, resilience and togetherness.

“We need to get the group ready for another game at the weekend against West Ham, who will be a test for us.”

Wolves should have Hwang Hee-chan and Craig Dawson back in training in time for the game, but it remains to be seen if they will be available to play – with next week’s trip to Nottingham Forest a more likely return fixture.

Wolves have been boosted by the return of Matheus Cunha, however, who managed around 20 minutes off the bench against Burnley.

It is unlikely he will start tomorrow, but O’Neil will hope to increase his minutes as he returns from a seven-week lay-off following a significant hamstring injury.

O’Neil’s biggest challenge for tomorrow, will then be who he chooses to play on the left wing.

“We tried to get him 20 minutes and that was the limit really,” the head coach said.

“He’s miles ahead of schedule. Even though I’ve seen him sprinting in training every day, putting him on and watching him chase things is uneasy because he’s so many weeks ahead of schedule.

“He said he felt absolutely fine and he was able to out play a couple of people, combine and get us into some good situations.

“We’re missing some very good players, which in the Premier League makes it even more difficult to pick up results.”