Writer: Stuart Smith
Date:Saturday March 10 2007
It's here! the Black Country derby, with more than just pride at stake.
Wolves take on West Brom for the third time this season coming off the back of five straight wins, and are a much changed side from the one that capitulated twice against their bitter rivals conceding three goals each time.
Confidence is high amongst the players and fans, but Mick McCarthy's men will not be going into the game with an air of complacency.
In the run up to the game, it's been noteable that it's been The Baggies, not Wolverhampton Wanderers expressing concerns over their opponents abilities, as clear a sign as any given that despoite the two previous results, they will not be taking Wolves too lightly.
Wolves have the opportunity to leapfrog West Brom, and it's a chance they simply have to take.
And if Mick McCarthy's side can show the same desire, passion and commitment as of late, they will give themselves an excellent chance of achieving it.
With the stakes so high, neither side is likely to back out of a tackle, shirk a challenge or take a backward step when the two sides line up on Sunday afternoon.
'We'll play 4,4,2 and everybody will have someone to mark and play up against. It's a question of you being better than the bloke you are facing.
Mick McCarthy has the impressive Darren Potter back in his plans following his one match suspension.
But with doubts over the fitness of Karl Henry, suffering from bruised ribs McCarthy's may find that his selection choices are made for him.
Should Henry fail to recover, McCarthy will most likely choose a straight swap between Henry and Potter, but if not, it will be another weekend of tough decisions for the Wanderers manager.
To tinker with a winning side or not is a headache Mick McCarthy has had for the past 4 fixtures.
The suspension of Potter allowed him to recall favourite son Gary breen, moving Rob Edwards to right back and Henry into the middle of the park, a move that saw Wolves concede two goals.
With the the pacy threat of Kevin Phillips and Joe Kamara, the Neil Collins- Rob Edwards central partnership may offer more protection against the Baggies front two, but whether Mick McCarthy would be prepared to drop Breen is a contentious question.
There is still a slight doubt over the fitness of Stephen Ward, but Mark Davies is available for selection following his illness late last week that caused him not to travel to Luton Town.
The flying winger, fast becoming one of the most feared attacking players in the division will play a key role in this third local derby.
Knowing he's a threat is one thing. Nullifying it is another, as several teams have found out since he signed from Grays Athletic
Tony Mowbray looks set to field an unchanged side from teh one that lost to Sunderland last week.
Ther is still no place in teh starting line up for Darren Carter despite scoring in his last two subs appearances.
The Wales international ran Wolves ragged in their last two meetings. Allowing him to dictate West Brom's play could signal another defeat for Wolves ina black county derby.
There is just one win seperating the two sides in the league, with West Brom leading Wolves 51 to 50, and 38 draws.
You have to go back to the 2000/1 season to find a Wolves win against West Brom, and then back to the '96/7 season to find the next with West Brom dominating recent encounters.
Andy D'Urso. Renowned for blowing hot or cold, D'Urso was once charged with less than proficency in applying the laws of eth game after failing to send off Blackburn Rovers' Barry Ferguson after cautioning the player twice.
Next up it's Coventry City
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Date:Saturday March 10 2007
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