The games continue to come thick and fast heading into the Easter period with Wolves hosting Derby County live in front of the sky cameras on Friday night.
A win would show real intent for a serious promotion challenge and would draw us level on points with Brentford in 6th place before anyone else has chance to play.
It was vital to get back to winning ways on Tuesday night after a run of three games without a win and the manner of the win should only breed more confidence back into the side.
Kenny Jackett once again shuffled the pack and brought back both Nouha Dicko and Scott Golbourne back into the side, changes which gave us a lot more impetus going forward with Dicko himself winning the penalty that opened the scoring against Sheffield Wednesday. Expect a similar side to line up against Derby on Friday night with Jackett commenting that he is relishing the chance to challenge ourselves against one of the biggest promotion contenders.
The only change that might be made to the side will be a forced one within back four after Richard Stearman picking up a nasty looking injury late in the game on Tuesday and having to be stretched off. It’s a huge shame for a player who will be among the names mentioned for player of the season.
While Jackett has expressed the injury will not be as bad as first feared there will still be major doubts over his chances to play in the upcoming games. Ethan Ebanks-Landell replaced Stearman against Sheffield Wednesday but Jackett also could opt to field either Dominic Iorfa or Kortney Hause in that position. The duo has thoroughly impressed in spells in the full back positions and both have made a case to earn a start in their more natural roles at centre half.
Whoever does start will have to be on top form to stop an imposing Derby side who have impressed throughout this season. However the Rams have hit a rocky patch of late and are without a win in their previous five games and have slipped away from the top spot.
In the reverse fixture this season Wolves were taught a real lesson being mauled 5-0 at Pride Park, still to this date Jackett’s biggest loss as Wolves manager.
But with half price tickets on offer for home fans on Friday this is a great chance to get Molineux fully rocking and amend that result back in November.
After his goal against Sheffield Wednesday, Benik Afobe can now boast being the top goal scorer in England’s top four divisions with 27 goals in all competitions. The January signing continues to look the real deal and chants of ‘Benik Afobe, he scores when we wants’ can often be heard in full voice from the South Bank. His £2 million price tag now looks like an utter bargain for a man who looks born to score goals.
Craig Bryson is an ever present player for the Rams since signing in 2011 and despite continued interest from Premier League clubs has stayed faithful to the East Midlands side. Manager Steve McClaren’s style of play allows Bryson to get forward more and help the link up with play with the strikers.
With Bent and Martin both out injured, Derby will be relying on Scottish striker Johnny Russell for the goals in their absence. Russell scored a brace in the reverse fixture earlier this season and will cause further problems if not kept at bay.
Benik Afobe 11/2
Nouha Dicko 6/1
Bakary Sako 8/1
Johnny Russell 7/1
Jesse Lingard 8/1
Thomas Ince 8/1