After an eventful 0-0 draw in the 3rd round of the FA Cup last weekend, Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolves are back in action in the domestic league this weekend when they travel to Oakwell to take on Barnsley on Saturday. Standing comfortably at the top of the league table, with a 12 point gap over Derby County in the second place, the Wolves beat Brentford at home in the previous round of the competition.
Paul Heckingbottom’s Barnsley crashed out of the FA Cup last weekend against Millwall and lost to bottom-placed Sunderland in the last round. They are struggling close to the drop zone and are not expected to take anything from this game.
The Wolves have the replay against Swansea in the FA Cup mid-week, looming large, but are expected to field their strongest side. Here is the predicted lineup Espirito Santo might field for this tie:
In early team news, the manager will miss the services of Danny Batth and Ruben Vinagre for this game, both of whom are suspended. Phil Ofosu-Ayeh and Carl Ikeme remain long-term absentees for this tie.
Expected lineup (3-4-3):
The experienced John Ruddy has been in fine form for the Wolves this season and remains the first choice for the manager under the bar, for this game as well. He will be supported by a three-man backline, which will be to full strength.
While Ryan Bennett is expected to keep his place on the right side of the backline, Willy Boly will look to keep things tight on the left side. Former Liverpool man Conor Coady, who has been solid at the back, is expected to start at the heart of the defence, maintaining Santo’s first choice defensive pairing.
The manager has also stuck with a regular midfield for most of his games this season. Romain Saiss has been solid in the middle of the park this season and will hope to run the game for his side. He should be accompanied by Ruben Neves, who has been crucial to Wolves’ consistent form this season.
With Vinagre out suspended, Barry Douglas is expected to keep his place in the side on the left flank as a wing-back while Matt Doherty, who will be the danger man for Barnsley in the midfield, is expected to start as a right wing-back in this tie.
Helder Costa has been a regular on the right flank for Wolves and should be kept quiet for the visitors to take anything from this game. Diogo Jota has been effective on the other flank and is expected to start yet again.
The manager should stick with Lohner Leo Bonatini to lead the line and will hope that he can continue his good form in front of goal in this game.
Here is how they might line up:
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