Wolverhampton Wanderers’ season continues on Tuesday night with a short trip to the East Midlands and The City Ground, where they will face Nottingham Forest in the Carabao Cup. The away side will be aiming to progress to the next round of a competition that they haven’t won since the early 1980s.
The decision to play this game on Tuesday 24th August is one that left Wolves appealing to the FA, due to them hosting Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon. However, they were told that moving the game to Wednesday was not a possibility due to a cricket match being played at nearby Trent Bridge. This, along with the early season nature and the league form of both teams has left the match feeling like somewhat of a hindrance. But there are still lots of questions to be answered.
This is the sort of game that would usually see the Premier League team rotating their starting line-up. Allowing some of their fringe players to get some minutes and giving the manager an opportunity to observe a different line-up and potentially different formation. But Bruno Lage told The Birmingham Mail that he had ‘15 senior players training last week’. Now, obviously that leaves very little room for rotation. However the possible risk of injury to their main men means that Wolves are more than likely to rest the teams’ stars.
There’s very little room for change at the back, outside of Christian Marques who could slot in at the centre of defence. Expect some changes at wing back, probably with Rayan Aït-Nouri coming in to replace the impressive Fernando Marçal. Rúben Neves, Adama Traorè and Raul Jimènez are the three players who Wolves would most like to protect, so Morgan Gibbs-White, Leander Dendoncker and Fabio Silva could be in line for starts.
Forest are also expected to rotate quite heavily for the mid-week cup game, with a large number of Andy Reid’s under-23 squad expected to get a chance to impress. Meaning that two second string line-ups could battle it out on Tuesday evening for a place in the Carabao Cup third round.
Forest (4-2-3-1): Samba, Back, Figueiredo, McKenna, Bong, Yates, Cafu, Zinckernagal, Lolley, Mighten, Taylor.
Wolves (3-4-3): Ruddy, Kilman, Marques, Saiss, Aït-Nouri, Hoever, Dendoncker, Moutinho, Gibbs-White, Trincão, Silva.
Ones to watch:
In a rather dismal start to the season, Philip Zinckernagel has stood out as someone who could inject a bit of spark in to a drab Forest side. His dribbling and crossing look like key attacking weapons that Chris Hughton, or whoever succeeds him, will look to draw on as the season progresses.
For Wolves, Francisco Trincao looks like he is beginning to play himself in to form, but he is still searching for his first Wolves goal. His tricky, intelligent wing play should be a constant threat to the Championship side.
There is hope around Molineux that Fabio Silva will flourish this season, his relationship with Luis Nascimento and the return of Jimenez as a mentor could see a major development in the 19-year-old striker's career.
Wolves stormed to the Championship title in the 2017-18 season, but they and Forest shared wins across that season.
Diogo Jota's brace led Wolves to an important victory at The City Ground in the early stages of the season. They came in to the match on a run of just two wins in five matches, their victory in Nottingham led to them claiming nine points from nine over the next three games.
Wolves weren't in great form in January for the return fixture, heading in to the home match against Forest on the back of two draws and a defeat. A two goal win for Forest condemning them to back-to-back defeats for the only time in the campaign in Aitor Karanka's second game in charge.
Where to watch on TV:
Kick off is at 8:00pm on Tuesday, 24th August. But the match has not been selected for television coverage.