Wolves Preview (H) - November 17
WATFORD HOST struggling Wolves this Saturday at Vicarage Road as they look to maintain an unbeaten start to November which has seen them win two and draw one of their fixtures thus far.
Wolves on the other hand are struggling to meet their expectations of promotion, four places below the Hornets in 16th and without a victory in their last six games.
Saturday saw Stale Solbakken`s side throw away a 2-1 lead at home to Brighton & Hove Albion before grabbing a last-gasp equaliser through defender Roger Johnson to claim a share of the spoils in a 3-3 draw.
On the road, the Molineux outfit have struggled for points, winning three and losing five of their eight away fixtures to date - failing to draw a single one. There is however plenty of quality in Solbakken`s squad and the Black Country outfit will still provide tough opposition.
Bakary Sako is one player who has made an immediate impact at Wolves having signed from French outfit St. Etienne in the summer.
A robust, yet flying winger, the 24 year-old Frenchman has quickly become a fans favourite with his direct, tricky running as well as his five goals in 13 n.Power Championship games to date.
Sako started his career in France with Châteauroux, making 68 appearances and scoring nine goals. A move to les Verts followed, with the 5`11 attacker making 108 Ligue 1 appearances and scoring a further 12 times before his move to England for an undisclosed fee.
The Wolves number 10 has also won 10 French U21 caps, scoring twice for les Bleus.
The arrival of former Watford loanee Jermaine Pennant, 29, in midfield has bolstered Solbakken`s wide options further, with the former Arsenal trainee signing on-loan from Stoke City on an emergency loan deal.
After establishing himself as a regular under Tony Pulis at the Britannia Stadium, Pennant has fallen down the pecking order lately and subsequently joined Wolves on a temporary basis.
Tricky in abundance, the Nottingham-born former Birmingham, Liverpool and Zaragoza man is not renowned for his consistency of delivery.
In the centre of midfielder, Solbakken raided Ligue 1 once again to improve his engine room options with the £3.5m acquisition of Tongo Doumbia.
The 23 year-old agreed a permanent move to Molineux this week after impressing on-loan from Rennes, making 14 n.Power Championship starts and appearing as a substitute in the two remaining fixtures.
Doumbia, born in Vernon, France, also started his career at Chataeuroux, scoring 12 in 17 for their 'B` side between 2007 and 2008 before stepping up to the full team the following season.
Midfielder Jamie O`Hara (groin), defender Steven Mouyokolo (knee ligaments) and Wayne Hennessey (knee ligaments) are all out. Karl Henry is suspended.
Gianfranco Zola is without John Eustace (back), almen Abdi (shoulder), Nyron Nosworthy and Prince Buaben (both hamsting) and Neuton (ankle).
Daniel Pudil returns from suspension but will have to dislodge Ikechi Anya down the left, whilst Fitz Hall is doubtful after returning to first-team training on Wednesday.
Watford: Almunia (c); Doyley, Ekstrand, Hoban; Cassetti, Smith, Hogg, Yeates, Anya; Vydra & Geijo.
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Ikeme; Foley, Berra, Johnson, Ward; Pennant, Doumbia, Edwards, Sako; Ebanks-Blake & Doyle.
Referee: Mr G Scott.