The international break perhaps came at the wrong time for Bruno Lage’s Wolverhampton Wanderers side, as things seemed like they were beginning to click under the leadership of the 45-year-old, with Wolves picking up nine points from a possible 12 over their last four fixtures.
With a West Midlands derby against Aston Villa coming up this afternoon, not only will Lage be hoping for a positive result in order to continue his team’s impressive run of form, he will also want to provide fans with the bragging rights of a win over one of their more prominent rivals.
Ahead of what is sure to be a challenging fixture for Wolves, will Lage decide to make any changes from the team which started the 2-1 win over Newcastle United last time out?
Here’s how we think the Portuguese could line up against Villa, along with the latest team and injury news…
With Francisco Trincao being ruled out of the trip to Villa Park after falling ill while on international duty with Portugal, Lage will be forced into at least one change this afternoon, and we predict that the 45-year-old will also make one other alteration to his starting XI against Newcastle United last time out.
The back three of Romain Saiss, Conor Coady and Max Kilman remains untouched, as do the left and right wing-back duo of Fernando Marcal and Nelson Semedo, while Jose Sa also retains his place between the sticks.
The first change comes alongside Ruben Neves in the middle of the park, with the £100k-per-week Joao Moutinho dropping out of the XI and 26-year-old Leander Dendoncker taking his place. That is to provide Wolves with a bit more defensive stability and energy against what is likely to be a rather attack-minded Villa midfield, which conjured four key passes against Spurs recently.
In the front three, Hwang Hee-chan keeps his spot following his brace against Newcastle, while dribbling king Adama Traore is reintroduced on the right as Trincao’s replacement, and Raul Jimenez starts up top.