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latest news from Gary o'neil's press conference ahead of wolves match against arsenal

Wolves Press Conference Update: Navigating Challenges with a Thin Squad

In the latest press conference, Wolves’ manager Gary O’Neil discussed the upcoming fixtures and the team’s current situation. Here’s everything you need to know from the briefing.

Team News: Injuries and Squad Updates

Amidst the usual anticipation for team updates, Gary O’Neal delivered a mix of good and bad news. Starting on a positive note, Pedro Neto is back on the pitch, although just for light training, which is a small but significant step forward for him.

However, the injury woes continue to pile up for Wolves. Dawson has undergone surgery and is out for the foreseeable future. Rayan Ait-Nouri might just make it to the bench, which is hopeful yet uncertain. Adding to the list, Nelson Semdedo and Mateus Cunha  are also sidelined. Cunha’s absence is due to a recent knock to his calf in the game against Forest, proving just how rough the sport can be.

The squad’s depth is further tested as Gary mentioned having only 10 fit outfield players available for selection. The rest will be filled by academy players, with one potentially making their debut—a silver lining as it’s always exciting to see new talent stepping up.

The Tough Road Ahead: Matches and Expectations

With Arsenal looming, followed by matches against Bournemouth and Luton, the team is under pressure. Arsenal’s desperation for a win could be a challenge for the understrength Wolves squad, but it also poses an opportunity for the young players to prove their mettle.

Despite the daunting schedule and injury setbacks, O’Neil remains positive. He appreciates the chance to evaluate the squad under these pressing circumstances. With survival in the Premier League already secured, the focus shifts slightly towards planning for the next season, particularly in terms of transfers and squad reshaping.

The Spirit of Resilience and Future Prospects

O’Neil praised the squad’s resilience, managing decent performances like the win against Fulham and draws at Forest and Burnley despite the setbacks. This spirit will be crucial as the team navigates this tough period.

Looking beyond the current season, the summer transfer window appears critical for Wolves. It’s clear the squad needs bolstering to avoid similar situations in the future, and backing O’Neil in the market will be vital.


key points

  • The club have “replied” to the outstanding FA charge against him. They are waiting for the hearing, which he anticipates will “probably be in the next week or so”: “Once we have gone through that process, everything will be out in the open and I can talk to you more openly about it.”

  • O’Neil offered updates on injury absentees. Pedro Neto is “on the grass” and he hopes the winger will feature before the end of the season “if all goes well”. Jean-Ricner Bellegarde is “still out” and Craig Dawson “has had his operation”.

  • Meanwhile, Rayan Ait-Nouri could be available to feature on the bench after training today. Nelson Semedo and Matheus Cunha have been ruled out while Hwang Hee-chan will only be able to play for “45 minutes at most”.

  • The boss added: “So for the starting XI tomorrow, I have got 10 senior outfield players to pick from can last or start a football match. It’s probably the worst situation we have been in, but lots of positives to come from that like loads of young players being involved and maybe a debut or two from the start of the game.”

  • On Arsenal: “I watch a lot of Arsenal’s games. They are a fantastic watch. Mikel [Arteta] is doing a fantastic job. Even during this tough week, you can see how fine the margins are and they could have easily won at Bayern Munich, with the structure of the team and how he sets them up.”

  • He is expecting a “tough test” but thinks it will be an “interesting one” for the Gunners as well: “We are going to have a right go with what we have available. I’m really looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to seeing how we can cope. In different moments, we learn a lot about each other and about sticking together.”

  • O’Neil believes that “asking anything of the supporters seems unfair”, after their backing this season, but he said the players are going to “really need them this week” as they embark on three home games with “not too many players available”.

  • Wolves are “fully focused” on the last six games of the season and want to finish as high as they can after working “extremely hard” to get themselves to 11th in the Premier League. He added: “The aim is to keep pushing.”

  • On the decision to scrap FA Cup replays, O’Neil commented: “If I put my selfish Wolverhampton hat on – if we are going to run with a squad of 19 players, which we have this season, then the less games the better. I was quite strong around the fact I think they should be played on Saturdays so you get a full week’s preparation. [That way] the game can be played seriously, and they aren’t put in between two league games.”

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