Title-chasing Boro may dent Wolves’ play-off hopes
Wolves’ clash with Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium could have significant repercussions for both sides.
Wolves disappointed at Birmingham on Saturday and Kenny Jackett must decide on whether or not to stick with the same formation against high-flying Boro, who are just two points off the top and still in with a realistic chance of automatic promotion.
Aitor Karanka’s side have the best home record in the Championship having lost just three times on Teeside this season. They’ve only conceded 11 goals in 21 matches so it would be almost suicidal for Wolves to play with only three across the middle.
But Jackett’s men did win the reverse fixture 2-0 so know they can tame Boro’s free-scoring forwards, though winger Albert Adomah caused untold problems that night and remains one of Middlesbrough’s key assets. Another is on-loan Chelsea forward Patrick Bamford, who has 16 for the campaign after netting his side’s second in a comfortable victory over Rotherham on Saturday.
Benik Afobe scored again to give Wolves the lead at St Andrews at the weekend but they faded after half-time and the manager will have to consider fatigue as a factor in the club’s final four matches.
They will need to win at least two of those to put the pressure on the teams above them in the table but only a point separates four teams striving for the final two spots in the play-offs and there are sure to be more twists and turns in the next three weeks.
Lee Evans is a possible option if Jackett decides to bolster his midfield. Scott Golbourne’s place could be under threat from Kortney Hause but Danny Baath and Richard Stearman will almost certainly continue at the heart of the Wolves’ defence, even though they’ve now conceded six goals in their last three and have tended to come up short when facing the Championship’s top sides on their own patch this term.
A defeat certainly wouldn’t rule Wolves out of the race for the play-offs but it would make life difficult. Unfortunately, Middlesbrough is a tough place to get a result and they could just have too much firepower for Wanderers. A home win is 10/11 and Wolves are 5/4 to draw a blank on the scoring front.
The match kicks off at 7.45pm on Tuesday, April 14 at the Riverside Stadium.