Terry Connor’s first task as new Wolves manager is to travel to the Sports Direct Arena and defeat a Newcastle United side who have lost twice at home all season. The assistant to former manager Mick McCarthy, Connor has taken over the job until the end of the season with the objective of keeping Wolves in the Premier League.
Club owner Steve Morgan has defended the decision to appoint Connor, particularly after reports suggested four managers turned down the chance to take over at Molineux. Wolves are in a precarious position with the club’s fans unhappy after their 5-1 defeat against arch-rivals West Brom in the last Premier League outing. Connor’s side can go bottom depending on how results go, but will take confidence from their five-match unbeaten run away from home.
Midfielder Karl Henry is available after serving a three-game suspension and Connor is expected to put the former captain straight back into the starting line-up. Michael Kightly is also in contention following injury and although top scorer Steven Fletcher was unable to train this week, Connor is optimistic that he will be available.
Alan Pardew has worked wonders with his Newcastle side this season, creating a team ethic and bond within his players that has lifted them into top four contention. Magpies’ fans will settle for the Europa League after their turmoil in recent seasons, but their hopes took a dent in their last Premier League game. Newcastle were beaten 5-0 by Tottenham, which leaves them in sixth position and a point away from fourth placed Arsenal.
Danny Guthrie has impressed in recent weeks, but the return of Yohan Cabaye from suspension and Cheick Tiote following the African Cup of Nations could leave the 24 year old on the bench. Senegalese strike partnership Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse were stifled at White Hart Lane, but will be hopeful to reproduce the goals that they scored in a 2-1 win over Aston Villa in the last home league game. Ryan Taylor could be back following injury, but Steven Taylor and Leon Best remain injured.
With three wins in their last three home games, Newcastle are a formidable outfit at the Sports Direct Arena in front of their traditionally supportive faithful. Wolves are good on the road and Connor’s permanent appointment allows him to input the tactics worked on this week at training. Pardew will welcome another new manager to the Premier League, but expects a good result from Newcastle who should move themselves above Arsenal before the Gunners play on Sunday.
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