Wolves vs Sunderland team news: Neves back for hosts against injury-depleted Black Cats

Wolves have club-record signing Rúben Neves back for the visit of Sunderland on a snowy Saturday afternoon in the West Midlands as they chase a seventh straight Championship win.

Wolves vs Sunderland team news: Neves back for hosts against injury-depleted Black Cats
(Picture: Getty Images - Chris Vaughan/CameraSport)

Club-record signing Rúben Neves returns for Championship league leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers as they host Sunderland at Molineux on Saturday afternoon (3pm kick-off).

The match goes ahead despite Storm Caroline's heavy snow throughout the night, with ground staff having treated the pitch and the stadium's surrounding areas to ensure the fixture is playable.

And £15.8 million midfielder Neves makes an immediate return to Wolves' starting line-up after missing their derby win over Birmingham City on Monday night due to suspension.

Neves had started every other league games for the club before that and after overcoming an injury that forced him off against the Blues, manager Nuno Espírito Santo keeps Roman Saïss alongside him. Alfred N'Diaye and Jack Price are on the bench.

With an almost fully fit complement to choose from, the home side start in their usual 3-4-3 formation with the electric attacking triumvirate of Championship top scorer Léo Bonatini, Ivan Cavaleiro and Diogo Jota taking centre stage.

Chris Coleman's injury-hit Black Cats are the visitors and due to their sheer number of absences, defender Donald Love makes his first start of the season.

The Welshman makes three changes with Aiden McGeady dropped and Bryan Oviedo - who picked up a hamstring injury in the second half of their defeat to Reading last weekend - absent.

Callum McManaman was sent off in that 3-1 defeat and is also absent with Lynden Gooch and Marc Wilson the two to come in as their replacements with Coleman seemingly switching from his 4-1-4-1 to a back-five.

Joel Asoro - despite a minor head injury earlier in the week - is made to wait for his first league start for the North East club. Lewis Grabban, who has eight goals in his last eight league games, leads the line.

Coleman, taking charge of just his fourth match, is without Paddy McNair - another injured against Reading, in the warm-up - as well as Duncan Watmore, Billy Jones, Didier N'Dong, Lamine Koné and Jack Rodwell.

Striker James Vaughan is back from a suspension for accumulating too many yellow cards but returns only to the bench. Youngsters Elliot Embleton and Tom Beadling are also on the bench having yet to make their senior debuts.

This clash pits the best attack in the division (41 goals scored) against the joint-worst defence (38 goals conceded), with Wolves looking to add to 5-1 and 4-1 victories in their previous two home matches and claim a seventh successive win.

That would take them within two victories of a joint club-record winning streak, having won nine on the bounce between January and March 2014 on the way to the League One title.

The league's front-runners can go seven points clear at the top with a victory. Second-placed Cardiff City do not play until Monday night against mid-table Reading.

Sunderland, meanwhile, are looking for their first back-to-back away league wins since May 2014 when they overcame Chelsea and Manchester United.

They have only won away at Wolves in the league once across their last 12 visits to Molineux, that sole triumph well back in February 1998.

Full confirmed team news

Wolves starting XI: Ruddy; Boly, Coady, Bennett; Douglas, Neves, Saïss, Doherty; Jota, Bonatini, Cavaleiro.

Sunderland starting XI: Ruiter, Browning, O'Shea, WIlson, Matthews, Love, Cattermole, Gibson, Gooch, Honeyman, Grabban.

Wolves bench: Norris, Batth, Vinagre, N'Diaye, Price, Enobakhare, Costa.

Sunderland bench: Steele, Beadling, Embleton, McGeady, Vaughan, Asoro.