Venue: Dean Court
Wolves go into the match on a run of three wins on the bounce, scoring nine and conceding none in that period, while opponents Bournemouth on the other hand haven’t won in their previous five and have slipped up ground for the promotion places.
After a short struggle following the turn on the year, the signing of Benik Afobe and the return to form of Bakary Sako appears to have galvanized our side and has lifted us to only three points from the playoffs and remarkably only eight points from top spot.
In the reverse fixture in early December, Bournemouth snatched a late 2-1 in a game where Wolves finished with only nine men; a result which left us in the bottom half of the table and looking unlikely to achieve anything meaningful from the season ahead.
Kenny Jackett must surely be commended for turning the side around from such a poor run as at the time confidence seemed low both among the fans and players.
Many scoffed when Jackett proclaimed that Wolves were targeting 30 points from the then remaining 15 games but since then his side have looked superb and are proving any doubters wrong.
Bournemouth themselves weren’t expected by many to be as high up as they are but fans will now expect to finish in at least a playoff space after such an impressive season.
This is a pivotal game for both sides in the promotion and playoff chase. For Bournemouth it is the chance to stop the rot and catch up on lost ground while for Wolves it’s the chance to show this isn’t just a fortunate run of form and they truly belong among the top six.
Richard Stearman is racking up the man of the match trophies and looks a shoo in to be featured among the player of the year awards. After many thought that following promotion fan favourite Danny Batth would look the most superior of the young back four, Stearman has looked head and shoulders above the rest and the previously erratic centre back has appeared calm and collected with and without the ball.
If things would have turned out slightly differently Callum Wilson could have been leading the line for us in this match instead of the Cherries after Kenny Jackett enquired about his services in January 2014 while Wilson was at Coventry City. Instead Jackett opted for fellow sky blues striker Leon Clarke and the less said about that transfer the better. Wilson has managed 15 goals in the league for Bournemouth this season but despite not scoring in his previous four outings, he is still a potent threat.
Wolves fans will recognise Andrew Surman for his short time with the club under the helm of Mick McCarthy. As was the case with many of Mick’s signings, we never got to see the best of young midfielder and he was shipped out to Norwich after only making seven appearances.
Callum Wilson 4/1
Yann Kermorgant 11/2
Benik Afobe 13/2
Nouha Dicko 8/1
Bakary Sako 9/1
(Image via expressandstar.com)