Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Leicester City preview: All Midlands affair at Molineux
LEICESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11: Leicester City's James Maddison during the Premier League match between Leicester City and Wolverhampton Wanderers at The King Power Stadium on August 11, 2019 in Leicester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stephen White - CameraSport/Getty Images)

After a two-week winter break, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leicester City return to Premier League action on Friday night, as the two sides meet in an all-Midlands affair.

Nuno Espirito Santo's Wolves side have performed well once again in the league whilst also contending with the UEFA Europa League and could move back into the top six with a win at Molineux.

Meanwhile, after a stuttering start to 2020, Leicester City have begun to rediscover their form from the start of the season and a win in the West Midlands on Friday could see them leapfrog Manchester City into second and tighten their grip on a UEFA Champions League spot.

Key Battle

Adama Traore is enjoying a great run of form in Wolves colours and is quickly making a name for himself as one of the players of the season. With four goals and seven assists to his name, the former Barcelona academy graduate is finally living up to his potential and could be the key to unlock a stern Leicester backline.

Brendan Rodgers' side also possesses a threat of their own on the wing in the shape of Harvey Barnes. The talented 22-year-old, fresh from scoring in the 2-2 draw against Chelsea has impressed fans with his displays at the King Power Stadium this season.

There have been talks of Barnes also being in contention for a first call up to the England squad during March's International break and Gareth Southgate will reportedly be at Molineux on Friday to assess Barnes' performance.

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Last Meeting

The previous encounter between the two teams was on the opening day of the season where both sides couldn't be separated in a 0-0 draw.

Despite the game being evenly contested, it was Wolves who initially thought they would be leaving the East Midlands with all three points after Leander Dendoncker's header however VAR disallowed the goal after it showed the ball had hit the arm of Willy Boly in the build up.

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Team News

Wolves are expecting the in-form Traore to have recovered from a shoulder injury sustained in the draw against Manchester United two weeks ago.

Ruben Vinagre is the only confirmed absentee for Wolves with a hamstring injury leaving Nuno Espirito Santo with a near full-strength squad to select from.

Foxes fans meanwhile will be hopeful that Wilfred Ndidi will be fit to play at Molineux after Brendan Rodgers confirmed he was a doubt with an ongoing knee injury. Nampalys Mendy is definitely ruled out through injury whilst Wes Morgan could return to the bench after recovering from illness.

Deadline day signing Ryan Bennett - signed on loan from Wolves - will also have to wait to make his debut as he is ineligible to play against his parent club.

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Predicted Line-Ups

Wolves: Patricio; Saiss, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Neves, Moutinho, Jonny; Traore, Jimenez, Jota.

Leicester: Schmeichel; Pereira, Evans, Soyuncu, Chilwell; Ndidi, Tielemans, Maddison; Barnes, Perez, Vardy.

Manager's Thoughts

Wolves' Nuno Espirito Santo is expecting a difficult game against Leicester and had a lot of praise for the opposition.

Nuno said: "We need to compete well. Leicester have done a fantastic job. Everybody can see the quality they have.

"They have a lot of quality players and a clear idea of football."

Leicester boss Rodgers knows that a win on Friday could extend the gap between the Foxes and fifth placed Sheffield United to 13 points but the Northern Irishman is aware there is still a long way to for him and his side.

Rodgers said: "We go into every game and give it our best. We know what we want to achieve. The players have been brilliant.

"In the last numbers of games, we’ve made some mistakes. There’s lots of learning that they will continue to make. It’s a very competitive league.

"There are still 39 points to play for, which is a lot. We don’t want to change. We can’t be thinking about being in the top four.

"We just need to concentrate on the next game. We want to be the best we can be."