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Match Previews

PREVIEW: Wolves v Burnley

Tale of the tape as the Clarets head to Molineux in search of first league win

16 September 2018

The Clarets head to Wolves on Sunday for only the second Premier League meeting at Molineux between the two clubs.

Much has changed since the last top-flight fixture in the West Midlands, with neither side showing any survivors from December, 2009.

Stephen Ward did play that day, but if he is involved again the former Wolves defender will be wearing claret and blue rather than old gold. 

Burnley’s final link with the side that lost 2-0 just before Owen Coyle quit as manager and the Clarets headed for relegation at the end of the 2009/10 campaign left Turf Moor this week with Michael Duff, who came off the bench, moving on to become manager of Cheltenham Town.

The current crop of Clarets will also be looking for a change of fortune following a winless start to their Premier League season.

And boss Sean Dyche believes the signs have been right as his side looks to open its account and possibly climb as high as 15th in the table by winding the clock back to Dyche's first game in charge.

“You want that first win, because that’s a start point. We have a point and probably should have more, in my opinion. Certainly, from the first two games against Southampton and Watford," said Dyche, whose first game in charge of the Clarets was a 2-0 win over Wolves in November, 2012.

“Performances have been close. They’ve not been as right as we want them, through 95 minutes or so, but there have been some very good parts of performances.

“I think it’s finding consistency within a whole performance, not just week-to-week, but keeping your levels all the way through a performance and I think that’s going to be important to us.”

Having dropped out of the Premier League in 2012 and suffering a second successive relegation 12 months later, Wolves have undergone a dramatic transformation in little over a year under Portuguese manager Nuno Espirito Santo.

With serious spending power behind him from overseas owners Fosun International, the former goalkeeper recruited heavily and built a Championship-winning team last season.

Re-building continued over the summer with the number of new signings going into double-figures – including the conversion of loans into a permanent deals for key men Diogo Jota, Willy Boly, Leo Bonatini and Ruben Vinagre.

Rui Patricio has been capped 76 times by Portugal

Winger Adam Traore was among the new recruits from Middlesbrough, while goalkeeper Rui Patricio arrived from Sporting Lisbon to join fellow Portugal internationals Joao Moutinho, signed from Monaco, and star midfielder Ruben Neves.

It’s said team-talks are conducted in Portuguese. But whatever language is being used it appears to be working, with a solid start to the season maintaining a feel-good factor and an upbeat mood the Clarets will be hoping to dampen.

Team news

Johann Berg Gudmundsson returns to the Clarets’ squad following a hamstring injury and Stephen Ward has shaken off a foot injury.

But defender Ben Gibson is out and faces an appointment with a specialist due to a groin problem, while Steven Defour and Robbie Brady are still not under consideration

Wolves' on-loan Benfica forward Raul Jimenez has passed a fitness test to maintain his ever-present record this season, but winger Ivan Cavaleiro remains sidelined with a back problem.

Form guide

Wolves have made a decent start to life back in the top flight with just one defeat in their first four games.

They have drawn both home games – taking a point from Everton and champions Manchester City.

A much-changed side also won at Sheffield Wednesday in the EFL Cup.

Opposition camp

Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo is expecting a tough test against a Burnley side re-focused following their hectic spell of 10 games domestically and in Europa League qualification ahead of the international break.

Nuno (below) said: “This cycle in the beginning of the season, when you have a focus of getting in a Europe competition, you know it is hard to maintain the same standards in both competitions so I think the international break was good for them.

“Sean (Dyche) for sure had a moment to work on that team and go back over what they did so good last season, so Sunday I am expecting a tough game.

“I look at Burnley a very good team, a manager that came (to the Premier League) some years ago and had made fantastic things, I think the best classification since 1974 so that says a lot about the work being done at Burnley.

“We look at them with true respect. Not only because of last season, but the way and the things they are involved in this season getting in Europa League.

“It is hard, we know that moment has passed and Burnley is a different reality now, totally focused on the Premier League.

“That makes things harder for us, we know them and we are going to work again today and we will be ready on Sunday.”

Match stats

Wolves won the only two previous Premier League games between the clubs, but the Clarets are unbeaten in their last four games against the Midlanders - all under Dyche.

Wolves haven’t won any of their last 14 home games in the top flight.

A draw would be enough to lift the Clarets to 16th-place in the table and a win could take them a place higher, while Wolves would go to ninth with a win ahead of the tea-time kick-off between Everton and West Ham.

Referee

Andre Marriner

Kick-off

1.30pm Sunday

Full live commentary from 1.15pm on Clarets Player HD.


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