Writer: Stuart Smith
Date:Thursday March 29 2007
Wolves get back to action this weekend against promotion chasing rivals Southampton. A win would take them 9 points clear of the Saints, and surely end Southampton`s dreams of Premiership football next season, and plant one Wolves boot firmly in the play offs.
'At the start of the season most people would have taken being in the top ten at the end of the campaign but now it will be a failure if we don't make the play-offs,'
Mick McCarthy could be forced to tamper with his once solid defence once more due to Jamie Clapham`s hamstring problem and Charlie Mulgrew may find himself back in the starting line up as cover. It`s now confirmed Karl Henry will sit out the rest of the season with a bruised spleen, so Rob Edwards is likely to continue in the right back berth, IF Mick McCarthy continues to persevere with Gary Breen at centre back.
Breen`s return to the side has coincided with a number of defensive lapses, with McCarthy`s favourite defender being seen as a telling factor by some quarters.
McCarthy has the option of bringing back Mark Little, once more pairing Rob Edwards and Neill Collins in the middle, or dropping Breen for club captain Jody Craddock now back to match fitness following his recovery from an achilles problem. Whether McCarthy is prepared to bench Breen is a very big question.
Michael Mcindoe has resumed training this week and should be fit, but there are greater concerns over 'keeper Matt Murray. Even with the two week break, he is still suffering from the after effects of a knee injury picked up in the 2-1 loss to Coventry City and is yet to commence full training..
Carl Cort has returned to the Compton training pitches following further knee surgery, but will not be in contention, whilst Jay Bothroyd continues to push for a starting place.
This may well be getting tiresome now, but it's as true as it was the first time we said it. When Wolves score, Kightly is bound to have a hand in either its delivery or execution. Ignore him at your peril.
Defender Chris Baird is facing a race for fitness after suffering a groin injury against Colchester.Kenwyne Jones and Djamel Belmad should both be avaialable for selection, whilst there are still doubts over veteran Darren Powell. Goal machine Grzegorz Rasiak may miss out followinghis withdrawal from the Poland squad with a virus.
Arguably the best left foot outside the Premiership,the current Football League Young Player of the Year and youngest player to represent and score for Wales will have to be watched like a hawk.
You have to go back to the 79/80 season to find a Wolves victory over Southampton, with the Saints winning 9 out of the 14 matches between then and the currrent day.
Overall,in matches between the two clubs Southampton have 22 league wins compared to Wolves 16, with 13 draws.
Graham Salisbury takes charge, and despite averaging 2 bookings a game, hasn't waved a card in anger since the beginning of the month. Hopefully, he won't feel the need to make up for that.
Next up its the Mick and Roy show as Wolves travel to Sunderland.
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Date:Thursday March 29 2007
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