Wolves Preview - Away, December 4
SUNDERLAND BEGIN life without Steve Bruce with a visit to Molinuex to face Wolves, live on Sky.
The Black Country outfit are just outside the drop zone by two points at present; Sunderland sit just a place and a 10-goal swing above them. Make no mistake - this is a six-pointer.
Under the guidance of former Black Cats boss, Mick McCarthy, Wolves have enjoyed three straight seasons in the Premier League now, but owing to the fact they live within their means it has been survival first for each of those campaigns.
Coming off the back of a 3-0 defeat at Stamford Bridge, Wolves will be gunning for all three as they head to Old Trafford next weekend.
Having seen the net ripple just 13 times in their opening 13 league matches, it's obvious where Wolves' problem lies but there are some good forwards who wear the gold and black.
Kevin Doyle is a relatively established Premier League forward having impressed with Reading during their top-flight stint. The Irish international bagged 23 of his 55 league goals for the Berkshire club in the Premier League, form which tempted McCarthy to splash £6.5m on him. The former Cork City man has managed just 16 league goals in the Midlands, but his overall work rate and the volume of assists he has delivered make him a key cog.
Alongside Doyle is former Hibernian forward, Steven Fletcher. The 24 year-old spent one season with Burnley in the Premier League having moved to Turf Moor for £3.5m before £7.5m move to Wolves. Much like Doyle, what the Scottish cap lacks in goal output he more than makes up for in his all-round game.
In midfield, Jamie O'Hara chips in with his fair share of goals and assists. The £2.5m former Tottenham Hotspur winger-cum-central-midfielder spent part of last season on loan from the North Londoners before a permanent move. O'Hara has also spent loan periods with Portsmouth, Millwall and Chesterfield. O'Hara won Portsmouth's 'Player of the Season' during a dire season with the South Coast side and boats a deadly set-piece delivery.
Wolves will be without defender's Richard Stearman and Kevin Foley so Ronald Zubar should continue at right-back.
Eric Black will take charge of first-team affairs for this clash and is only missing long-term worries Simon Mignolet, Craig Gordon, Frazier Campbell and Connor Wickham.
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Hennessey; Zubar, Johnson, Berra, Elokobi; Jarvis, Henry (c), Edwards, Ward; Milijas; Fletcher.
Sunderland: Westwood; O'Shea, Brown, Turner, Bardsley; Larsson, Colback, Cattermole (c), Richardson; Sessegnon; Bendtner.