And welcome to coverage from Molineux featuring 13th-placed Wolves, for whom a victory would take them up to 11th, and Everton who need to win to return to the top four. Everton were on a run of decent form, winning four in succession before being Moyesed by West Ham’s late 1-0 victory on New Year’s Day while Los Lobos just cannot seem to get any momentum going and are clearly missing Raul Jimenez, the seriousness of whose injury and long-term prognosis seem, to me, inexplicably under-reported. No whispers of them being in the hunt for a new centre-forward this month,either, but the recall of Patrick Cutrone after a year away on loan at Fiorentina is a positive sign. Now all he needs to do is add a few goals to his industry.
Since their great centre-forward fractured his skull during what turned out to be a 2-1 victory over Arsenal, they have won one, drawn two and lost four matches. They lost a 3-1 lead at Brighton in the last match out but it was encouraging to see Adama Traore and Ruben Neves play so well in the 1-0 defeat of Palace in the Cup at the weekend.
Wolves will be without Raul, of course, and his fellow long-term absentee Jonny. Daniel Podence and Fernando Marcal are out for the rest of the month but there is a slight chance that Willy Boly could make his return, perhaps on the bench.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Allan are out for Everton, Richarlison will have a late fitness test while Fabian Delph and Jaen-Pierre Gbamin will take a while longer yet to recover.
As far as the past goes, Everton have drawn one and lost one of their two most recent visits since Wolves’ Sino-Portuguese revolution, Raul, Leander Dendoncker and Diogo Jota scoring in a behind closed doors victory in July. Everton’s most cherished victory there goes back to 1969-70 when they won 3-2 en route to the title with goals from Joe Royle, Colin Harvey and Johnny Morrissey. Something similarly ding dong would be just the tonic tonight.
We’ll have the team news at 7.15pm. Tara for a bit.