Club Focus – Wolverhampton Wanderers – Wolves confident despite Henry blow

Wolves’ players were strutting their stuff on the catwalk on Wednesday night and will hope to approach the game against Stoke in a confident fashion. Many of the Wolverhampton players were modelling the latest designs of Harvey Nichols, the Birmingham department store, for a charity fashion show in aid of the Everyman Cancer Charity. The rest of the squad were there to show their support as the club did its part in raising a four-figure sum, which will help promote awareness of both prostate and testicular cancer.

There is a good feeling surrounding the Midlands club at the moment, although Arsenal ended Wolves’ short unbeaten run, with a last-gasp winner. Many of the players insist their confidence has not been dented by the defeat. Matthew Jarvis believes that the squad can continue with the good work it has achieved in recent weeks and build on the confidence that they have already earned through performances. The in-form winger said: “We’ve always thought we would stay up and still think we can. That’s why we’ve been fighting so hard and got ourselves into a good position.

Stoke are a tough prospect after winning their last two games against Wolves’ relegation rivals West Ham and Hull respectively. But Mick McCarthy’s side can take heart from their performance at the Britannia Stadium back in the October of last year. In that fixture Wolves battled their way back from two goals down to level the game 2-2, with a Jody Craddock scoring a brace to earn a share of the spoils. According to the stats the omens look worrying for Wolverhampton as only one in their last eight league meetings against Stoke has ended with the home side taking three points. The Potters also boast a fantastic defensive record away from home and have conceded just 16 goals on the road in the Premier League this season, which could be a problem as Wolves have failed to score in six of their last seven games at Molineux.

McCarthy has a few problems to work on ahead of Sunday’s league fixture. The biggest issue is the absence of club captain Karl Henry, who will not feature against his former club after wrongful red card against Arsenal last weekend, and will miss the next three matches. The Wanderers decided not to appeal against Henry’s dismissal as they would not want to risk the ban being increased should their claim be found frivolous. The manager has a few players to choose from to fill the captain’s shoes, one of which is Adlene Guedioura. The midfielder has been out of the starting XI in the last three matches and will hope he gets the nod to replace Henry following an impressive start to his Molineux career. The Frenchman insists that it takes a squad effort to fight for league survival and believes that his side carry the right depth. “It is an opportunity for someone to come in but the decision is up to the gaffer,” said Guedioura. The 24-year-old added: “It’s a squad effort and we all have to be ready to play a part. That’s the way I look at it – I have to be ready for each of these last games if I am called upon to play.

Wolverhampton-born Henry will continue doing his bit for the team and show his support from the sidelines whilst he serves his ban. It will be a strange transition for the skipper, who will go from being in the thick of the action as part of a combative Wolves midfield to having to contend with cheering on the men in gold as a supporter. Henry believes his experience will be no different from the rest of the Molineux and says that he will be as nervous as they are and praying for a positive result. “I’ll probably be biting my nails and be with the rest of the Wolves supporters hoping the team can produce the goods and get the points in the bag.” The situation is looking good for Wolves in the league as they sit in 14th and seem a lot more likely to survive than of Burnley, Hull and West Ham, but Henry is adamant that his side will fight “tooth and nail” until the end of the season and their place in the Barclays Premier League is confirmed for at least one more year.

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