Wolves team news: Bruno Lage could bench 90-cap Molineux star vs West Ham

Wolves manager Bruno Lage on the touchline

The Express & Star journalist Luke Hatfield thinks Bruno Lage may consider leaving Raul Jimenez out of his starting line-up when Wolves return to action on Saturday.

Wolves will be looking to get back to winning ways when they host high-flying West Ham, who have picked up maximum points from their last four league matches.

How has Jimenez fared this season?

It was always going to be interesting to see how Jimenez looked when he got back on the pitch in August after almost nine months out with a serious head injury.

The 30-year-old looked a little off the pace at the start of the season, as he failed to score in his first five top-flight appearances.

He finally got off the mark in late September, though, when he netted the only goal of the game against Southampton, and he followed that up by delivering two assists at home to Newcastle in his next outing.

The forward went on to score against Everton the following month, meaning that he has been directly involved in four Premier League goals this term.

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What has Hatfield said about Jimenez?

The only league game that Jimenez has not started in 2021/22 came in October when he returned late from international duty and was only named on the bench for the derby clash with Aston Villa.

Jimenez is set to fly back from playing for Mexico this week, and Hatfield feels Lage might decide against starting him due to his lack of preparation time.

When asked if the Portuguese manager could leave the 90-cap international out of his starting XI on the weekend, Hatfield told GIVEMESPORT: “This time, I’m not too sure whether he’ll consider the same way. I’m not entirely sure when Jimenez will be back. But Lage’s got previous for it. So, if he’s back at a similar time then it might be a case of: ‘you’re just going to have sit maybe the first 45 on the bench, just to see how you are.’”

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How likely is Jimenez to start on Saturday?

In the October international break, Mexico played their final fixture against El Salvador in the early hours of Thursday morning (UK time), giving Jimenez just two days to get back to England to make himself available for selection.

Therefore, it was hardly a surprise when Lage opted to put him on the bench.

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Who did Wolves beat on the opening day of the 2020/21 campaign?

This time around, things are slightly different. Mexico played Canada on Wednesday morning (UK time), meaning that Jimenez has an extra 24 hours to return to the Midlands to prepare for the West Ham game.

As a result, he should get another day of training under his belt with the Wolves squad when compared with last month, and that may be enough for Lage to decide that he is ready to feature from the beginning on this occasion.

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