Wolves v Stoke: Match Preview


Wolverhampton Wanderers v Stoke City; Barclays Premier League; Molineux; 17th December; 15:00

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Matt Jarvis and Dave Edwards are likely to be fit after suffering slight knocks in the defeat at Old Trafford last week.

Jody Craddock is unlikely to make it because of a hamstring problem, Kevin Foley is not considered after a long-term ankle injury, and Jamie O'Hara has torn his calf so will also be absent.

Stoke made wholesale changes from their win against Tottenham for their trip to Besiktas so should be well rested.

Andy Wilkinson was taken off in Turkey with a recurrence of a back issue so probably won't start and Mamady Sidibie could be out for the season with a knee injury.

McCarthy unfazed by Stoke towel tactics

Mick McCarthy has claimed that he has no issue with Stoke using any kind of alternative tactics to help them with their long throw-ins.

Spurs were incensed last Sunday when Ryan Shotton looked to be drying the ball on a towel stitched into his shirt before hurling the ball into a crowded penalty area from all angles.

But the Wolves boss, who was a decent throw-in taker himself during his playing career, is more interested in how his side deals with the problem.

"I have no objection to it and whatever they want to do is fine by me," the former Sunderland manager said. "If they make every Stoke shirt with a towel in it, what can you do about it?

"But what I think you can do is defend the throw-in the first place. I never used to wipe my hands on anything and I could throw the ball to the far post.

"I'm not bothered about all the caper, no. Defend it."

McCarthy wants Wolves to play at a high-tempo and close down Stoke players quickly like the Midlands club tend to do when they are playing at their very best.

"I think we have to play that way, it suits us, it suits the players, it suits me and it suits the way the players want to play.

"It's got us the right results - certainly at home - and we've now got two huge home matches which are big games for us."

Tony Pulis is full of admiration for his opposite number this weekend, and cannot understand the criticism he has received from sections of the Molineux crowd this season.

"At every football club there's always a section of supporters who are never going to be happy. What hopefully Mick has got is a chairman who is sensible and recognises that there will always be people out there who want more," Pulis explained.

"Hopefully the chairman understands that they've got a real top manager, and a top person as well. I'm sure they do. Mick's a great football man, he's done a remarkable job at that football club.

"We respect Wolves. We know it's going to be a very tough game. It's a local derby and it'll be a great atmosphere. It's always a tough place to go."

Stoke go into the match buoyed by their plum draw against Valencia in the last 32 of the Europa League.

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