Wolverhampton Wanderers have won all of their last five encounters in the Championship and are currently placed at the top of the Championship table with 44 points to their name after 19 games.
Under the tutelage of Nuno Espirito Santo, the Wolves have been brilliant so far and would be keen to keep their momentum intact. On Monday, they are due to face Birmingham City at St. Andrew’s Stadium and here is how they are expected to line-up for the West Midlands derby.
Between the sticks, we expect John Ruddy to start with the gloves. The veteran goalkeeper has been really solid in his endeavours and we don’t see any ramification being made by Espirito Santo in this regard.
A three-man defensive wall comprising of Conor Coady, Ryan Bennett and Willy Boly is anticipated to be stationed in order to shield Ruddy. All the three defenders have been like rocks at the back and all of them played very well in Wolves’ 5-1 win over Bolton Wanderers last weekend.
The right wing-back position is seemingly likely to be handed once again to Matt Doherty, who has been a constant and productive figure in that slot for the Wanderers whereas, at the left wing-back area, we expect to see Barry Douglas to showcase his industry.
Wolves’ £15million record signing, Ruben Neves, is suspended for the derby clash after he picked up his fifth booking of the season whilst plying his trade against Bolton Wanderers and his absence would be a massive blow to the tactical nous of Espirito Santo, for he has been the engine room of his side this season.
In his absence, the duo of Romain Saiss and Alfred N’Diaye is expected to be given the nod to start. When Saiss was suspended against Norwich City, N’Diaye proved to be an astute commodity and it wouldn’t really be a surprise to see him start in the middle.
Leo Bonatini has been in a dazzling form up front and he is likely to be the spearheading his side against Steve Cotterill’s side. The Brazilian has smashed 11 goals and has registered 5 assists already and would be keen to add more goals and assists to his name by putting forth another commendable outing.
On the left-wing, Diego Jota should be posing a great deal of threat to Birmingham City’s defence, whereas, n the right-wing, Ivan Cavaleiro is likely to be pencilled to create havoc down the right flank.
Here is how they might lineup: