Wolverhampton Wanderers v Norwich City – Match Preview

Under pressure Mick McCarthy drilling home the importance of beating Norwich on Tuesday as Wolves battle to pull away from the bottom three.

Defeat at Stoke on Saturday left Wanderers just a point above the drop zone following a run of two wins in 14 games with those victories coming against fellow strugglers Wigan and Sunderland. It’s been another season of disappointment at Molineux with McCarthy failing to take the club forward despite spending heavily in the summer. The acquisition of Roger Johnson hasn’t worked out as planned with the former Birmingham defender failing to strengthen an already fragile defence. Inconsistency has plagued Wolves this season and their loss in the Potteries last week highlighted their inability to hold onto a lead. The manner in which they crumbled under a sea of Stoke pressure will have concerned supporters who will approach the meeting with Norwich with a sense of trepidation. Creating and scoring goals hasn’t been a problem since the return of Steven Fletcher whilst Jamie O’Hara pulls the strings in midfield and Matt Jarvis causes mayhem on the wings. Finding the net won’t be a tough task against the Canaries considering they haven’t kept a clean sheet this season. It’s keeping the ball out at the wrong end that will ultimately be Wolves’ downfall.

The same affliction also plagues Paul Lamberts side who threw away a 1-0 lead at Everton last week leaving Merseyside with one point instead of three. Norwich have enjoyed a superb season so far and after taking four points from their last two games against the Toffees and Newcastle they currently lie ninth in the table seven points clear of trouble going into Christmas. However, despite performing well above expectation, the Canaries will surely be stunned to learn they could be sitting in fifth above Arsenal, Liverpool and Newcastle had they not dropped 10 points from winning positions. Like Wolves scoring goals hasn’t proved to be an issue with Steve Morison and Grant Holt proving to be unfazed by the step up from Championship to Premier League. Defending needs to improve though and despite having the impressive John Ruddy between the sticks Norwich have conceded 25 goals in their 16 games since promotion. They were unlucky not to keep their first clean sheet of the campaign against the Toffees and will surely be going all out of record their first shut out of the season and consolidate their top half position going into 2012.

Wolves 17th : 14 points

Team news: Jamie O’Hara and David Edwards will miss the visit of Norwich whilst Jody Craddock and Kevin Foley remain sidelines.

Key Player: Steven Fletcher

Since his return from injury Fletcher has breathed new life in the Wolves attack scoring three times in as many games. The Scotland international is the perfect foil for Kevin Doyle and Mick McCarthy will be hoping the duo can strike the right chord against Norwich.

Norwich 9th : 20 points

Team news: Norwich have no new injuries to worry about and could have on-loan defender Richie De Laet back in training this week. Lambert is likely to stick with the same eleven than drew with Everton.

Key Player: Grant Holt

After spending much of the season twiddling his thumbs on the substitutes bench the Canaries talisman is back in business. Three goals in two games including a top drawer strike at Goodison Park last week have forced his manager into changing his system to accommodate him up front. Holt will be confident of continuing his festive purple patch at Wolves on Tuesday.

PREDICTION

Expect goals in this one with both teams proving to be prolific this season but seemingly incapable of keeping clean sheets. Wolves’ desperation to move away from the relegation zone over Christmas should see them emerge victorious from this one with Norwich winning only one of their seven away games this season. Never count the Canaries out though!

Score: 2-1

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