watch our preview for wolves v forest here
Wolves goalkeeper Jose Sa is expected to have recovered from the back spasm that caused him to miss the midweek win over Burnley. Defender Rayan Ait-Nouri, who has been sidelined for the last two matches with an ankle injury, will be assessed.
Forest are monitoring defender Willy Boly, who missed the midweek defeat by Fulham. They remain without top scorer Taiwo Awoniyi, who is recovering from groin surgery.
Here are the key lines from his news conference:
Winger Pedro Neto is not quite ready to return to action, but goalkeeper Jose Sa is fit after missing the win over Burnley with a back problem: “Neto is upping the level of intensity of what he can do. He has one more week with the coach and then hopefully he’ll be available.”
On choosing between Sa and Daniel Bentley to start in goal: “It’s a decision to make and not one I envisaged when I came in. There seemed to be a clear one and two when I arrived. What Dan has done in the last few weeks has proved that he can push, it puts him and the club in a good spot. Jose knows the level needs to be high, as does Dan.”
O’Neil went on to provide an injury update on left-back Rayan Ait-Nouri: “His ankle is still sore, he’s not progressed as quickly as we’d hoped. He didn’t manage to train yesterday, so we will assess him in the morning. It’s likely he won’t be available.”
On the importance of leading goalscorer Hwang Hee-chan: “He’s been key for us. Eight goals in however many games is impressive. He’s intelligent, he knows when to arrive in areas and has good timing. He looked tired the other night, but we tried to rest him up, he’s looking sharp again now.”
On the speculation about Steve Cooper’s position as Forest manager, O’Neil said: “I feel under pressure every game and I’m sure Steve feels the same. Looking at the response he got from fans after the midweek game, he seems to have the backing of them. Steve is a good coach and I don’t listen to rumours too much, it’s just another game for us.”
O’Neil was asked what to expect ahead of Forest, to which he said: “They’re not overly aggressive so that may be on us with the ball. When we’ve played the top sides here, they’ve come after us and we’ve had to move the ball quickly. Tomorrow could be a different test again, they’ve used a lot of different shapes and structures, it’s difficult to predict. After this we have eight days before our next game, so tomorrow we can attack it full throttle.”
On Forest’s 5-0 loss to Fulham: “I don’t know how they’ll react to the big defeat they had when they played. They may come and show up a bit more. To concede five goals away from home makes it difficult to know whether they’ll come and try the same again or if they’ll be more defensive-minded.”
MATCH STATS & FACTS
- Wolves have lost only one of the past 11 meetings in all competitions (W6, D4).
- However, Nottingham Forest have won three of their last six league away games versus Wolves (D1, L2).
- Forest’s most recent top-flight victory over Wolves was a 5-0 home win in 1983 under Brian Clough.
- The teams met three times last season, with Wolves taking four points in the league but losing in a Carabao Cup quarter-final penalty shootout.
- Wolves are aiming for a third consecutive home win in the Premier League.
- They have lost just two of their past 12 Premier League games at Molineux (W7, D3).
- All five of Wolves’ league wins this season have been by a single-goal margin.
- Wolves have scored in 14 successive league fixtures.
- This is Gary O’Neil’s 50th Premier League match as a manager (W15, D9, L25).
- Hwang Hee-chan has scored seven goals in his last eight Premier League home games.
- Matheus Cunha has been directly involved in a goal in each of his last four appearances, with two goals and two assists.
- Nottingham Forest have lost their last four Premier League matches, with their only win in 11 coming at home to Aston Villa.
- They have lost their last three away games in the top flight, conceding 11 goals.
- Their 2023-24 Premier League record of three wins, four draws and eight defeats is exactly the same as they had after 15 games last season.
- Forest have lost 19 times and conceded 62 goals in Premier League away fixtures since the start of last season, both more than any other side.
- They are winless in each of the last 11 Premier League matches that Taiwo Awoniyi hasn’t played in (D4, L7).
- Steve Cooper’s side have just one win and one clean sheet in their last 15 Premier League games kicking off at 3pm on a Saturday.
Referee: Sam Barrott. Assistants: Lee Betts, Akil Howson. Fourth official: Tony Harrington. VAR: Chris Kavanagh. Assistant VAR: Sian Massey-Ellis.
This on is a Saturday 9th December 3pm kick off at Molineux, it is not been shown live on TV in the UK.