Wolves travel up the A38 to Derby
After their encouraging win against Middlesbrough on the opening weekend of the Championship League season, Wolves travel across the Midlands to face Derby in their first away match of the season on Saturday. Strangely its the second successive away game at Pride Park for Wolves, who also played there in their final away game of last season.
This game has not been a happy one for Wolves in recent season as Derby won 3-1 last season, 4-2 the season before, and 5-0 in 2014/15. Wolves will be hoping to turn the clock back before those times because in the 9 previous games between the teams in Derby, the home team didn't win any.
The Rams lost three of their best players in the summer when Will Hughes moved on to Watford, Tom Ince to Huddersfield, and Cyrus Christie made his debut for Middlesbrough at Molineux last week. They have bought in the experienced Curtis Davies from Hull, Andre Wisdom from Liverpool who spent some time on loan at Derby back in 2013/14, and Tom Huddlestone returns 12 years after leaving the club to join Spurs. He spent a short time on loan at Wolves in 2005/06 and joined Hull in 2013. Chris Martin is back as centre forward having spent last season on loan at Fulham. And Andreas Weimann is also back in favour having made 12 appearances last season on loan at Wolves, highlighted by a vital goal in the FA Cup at Anfield.
There are unlikely to be many changes to the Wolves team that beat Boro. Ruddy will keep his position in goal although Norris impressed in the midweek cup game against Yeovil. The back three will likely be Miranda, Coady and Boly, although Batth and Bennett gave steady defensive displays in the week, and Coady was the surprise subject of an offer from Sheffield United that was rejected by Wolves.
The wing backs will surely be Doherty and the impressive Douglas, although Doherty did get a knock in the Boro game. In the centre of midfield we can expect Neves and Saiss who were two of the best players last Saturday. Ronan and Price do offer good alternatives in those positions though.
It is up front where the main questions arise about team selection. Cavaleiro has now completed his suspension from his sending off in the game at Derby at the end of last season and he will come back to compete with Enobakhare for a starting position. Bonatini is still working his way to full match sharpness but he made a scoring debut at Molineux last week and he will be competing with Dicko for the central striker role, with Nouha getting the winner against Yeovil to advertise his claims. Jota will be the third front man.
It's not as easy start to Wolves league season with Boro many people's favourites to win the division, and Derby are perennial play off contenders. Then on Tuesday there is a trip to a Hull team just out of the top flight. But there is optimism in the air at Molineux and Wolves will be determined to put an end to the poor run of results at Pride Park.