Writer: Stuart Smith
Date:Saturday October 20 2007
Wolverhampton Wanderers entertain Charlton Athletic, in what many thought would have been a battle for a top spot.
Wolves go into the match in a bouyant mood, unbeaten in four, a run that has seen them climb to 7th, four points behind second place Charlton. Not quite so impressive given that yu have to go back to August the 18th to find a Charlton loss, their one and only this season.
Wolves desperately need to get a win under their belt and re affirm their promotion credentials, and a victory against Alan Pardews much fancied side would certainly send out a message to the division, but is Mick McCarthy's side strong enough to manage what only Stoke have done this season and beat the Addicks?
Charlton have a number of top players either out or fatigued, so now may be the perfect time to play the diisional high flyers and climb back into the play off places.
Pre season many expected this to be a battle between two
Jay Bothroyd may be in line for a recall following Stephen Elliot's midweek injury.
Freddy Eastwood looks set to remain on the bench after damaging his achilles on international duty with Wales, and Stephen Ward is out with a bout of tendonitis, which should see the much awaited return of Matt Jarvis on the left wing.
Michael Gray is sidelined after tearing a hamstring against Coventry, but Wayne Hennessey has recovered from his injury picked up in the same game, much to the relief of many.
There are also doubts over Gary Breens fitness which could force McCarthy into fielding a revamped back four, with Rob Edwards and Neil Colllins battling it out for a starting spot.
This match has Bothroyd written all over it. Top opponents, big match atmosphere, and a point to prove.
If he wants to stake a claim for a long term starting berth, now would be the ideal opportunity to prove he's worth one.
Alan Pardew has his own selection headaches to worry about.
Matty Holland, Ben Thatcher and Cory Gibbs wil lall definitely miss out with injuries.
Lloyd Sam is suspended, and Andy Reid may miss out after his midweek International game.
Up front, Pardew has a tough choice between Izale McLeod and Svetoslav Todorov, with both impressing in their last outings.
A ckass act, Andy Reid will need stifling if Wolves are to have any chance of getting anything out of today. Wolves fans will remember him only too well from his time at Nottingham Forest, when he destroyed Wolves at Molineux.
Wolves have an appalling recent record against Charlton, losing the last four meetings and failing to score in any of them.
Overall, the picture looks slightly better, with Wolves hitting a better than 50% winning ratio against the Addicks coming out on top 38 times to Chrltons 20, with 17 draws..
Next up, it's Cardiff away midweek.
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Date:Saturday October 20 2007
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