Wolves striker Kevin Doyle targets stuttering Chelsea


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The Independent Football

Kevin Doyle has challenged Wolves to repeat the level of performance which enabled them to topple a quartet of the Barclays Premier League's leading sides last season when they visit Chelsea tomorrow.

Striker Doyle and his team-mates defeated the Blues and the two Manchester clubs at Molineux as well as winning against Liverpool at Anfield to help ensure top-flight survival.

Chelsea have lost three of their past four league games and hopes of Champions League qualification are in the balance.

But Doyle knows fourth-from-bottom Wolves will have to be at their best if they are to increase the pressure on Chelsea boss Andre Villas-Boas.

Doyle, who is expected to shake off a knock to his knee to play, said: "It will be difficult but we've got a reasonably good record against the top sides.

"It is games like this, when people least expect us to get anything, that we sometimes pick something up.

"I don't think we've ever been overawed by this sort of challenge. More often than not we've actually risen to the challenge and perhaps played better than normal.

"We've all been involved in plenty of games with the top teams. I'm sure we all feel reasonably equal against them even though we know they have got quality players.

"I think a team like us can beat one or two of the top sides in a season if we play as we can."

Doyle hopes Wolves can capitalise on Chelsea's current stuttering run of form as he looks for his first tangible success at Stamford Bridge.

He said: "I've not had much joy down in Chelsea in the two seasons with Wolves and before that with Reading.

"But, as they've been in the top two for the last few seasons, there's no surprise there.

"It will be difficult but they've not been on the best of runs although I am sure they could be saying the same thing about us.

"We'll just have to play as well as we can and see what happens. If we can start the game well and put them under a bit of pressure and frustrate them, it gives us a chance.

"We did well there last season and I think it was the best I've felt that a team I've been involved with has played there.

"I remember they said themselves that at that stage we'd been the best team they'd faced at their place in the season. But we still got beat 2-0."

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy will have to make three changes with midfielders Jamie O'Hara and Stephen Hunt suspended and full-back Richard Stearman ruled out with a broken wrist.

Matt Jarvis, Adlene Guedioura and Ronald Zubar are poised to replace them with the latter returning after nine months out of actions through injury.

But Doyle believes Wolves' slide down the table means no-one is guaranteed to play.

He said: "It gives a chance to three lads who have been injured or for whatever reason haven't been playing.

"With the run we've been on I don't think anyone is massively staking claim to their own place, including myself.

"All of us are susceptible to be dropped on recent results and, for those coming in, if we get a result then it gives them a chance because positions are open."

Doyle is often employed as the lone striker but is content to play in whatever system is demanded of him by McCarthy.

He said: "I've played a lot of my career in a 4-4-2 but have also had a lot of success at Wolves when we've gone 4-5-1 or 4-3-3.

"I've enjoyed both and am happy with both."