Ben Foster looks like he will be OK after having to go off halfway through last week’s game. Nikola Zigic could make the bench although Obafemi Martins is now out for the season. Barry Ferguson should return.
Steven Fletcher and Sylvan Ebanks Blake are both doubts for Wolves which could leave them short of strikers as Kevin Doyle will not return for a couple of weeks.
The teams last met in December with Wolves winning 1-0. The last game at St Andrews was in February 2010 when Blues came from a goal down to win 2-1 with two goals by Kevin Phillips.
Neither side have been in great form of late but at least Blues have won their last two at home. Wolves are on a run of one point from four games since the international break. They have lost thirteen of their seventeen away games this season.
Right, lets start by pretending that last week’s horror show didn’t happen. Done that? Good. I’m not sure it will have much of a bearing on Sunday’s game especially as Wolves themselves are coming off the back of an equally inept performance in midweek. Both clubs will be looking for a reaction. It’s also possible that Blackburn, Blackpool and Wigan may all pick up points on Saturday which will add to the pressure on those teams playing on Sunday. I particularly fancy Blackburn to get a win that will put them above us in the table.
So this will be our biggest match since the cup final and while Wolves are more desperate for the points I really want us to get the win that will probably make us safe. I don’t want to be going into the Fulham game still needing three points. A draw may also be enough depending on other results and I would expect that Wolves would take that as well. League positions aside we should always be looking to win a game against a side in such poor form and with a very bad away record.
Despite the poor showing last week I expect us to field a similar team but with Ferguson and Phillips being recalled at the expense of Hleb and Fahey. Jerome and Phillips have great scoring records against Wolves so should start together in a 4-4-2. I’d also like to see Bentley or Beausejour start although I wouldn’t want this to be at the expense of Larsson who has been our best player in recent weeks. I think that Alex McLeish needs to decide between Bowyer and Gardner as they are too similar to play in the same midfield and playing Bowyer on the left has meant that we have had no width on that side. We need to take the game to Wolves early and pressurise their suspect defense.
I’d hope we can win this but I have a feeling that the pressure on both sides and the early kick off may lead to a bit of a stalemate.
My prediction 1-1. Phillips to score for us.
C’mon you Blue Boys.