Two of the Premier League’s mid-table sides clash in the FA Cup on Friday night, as Wolverhampton Wanderers host Crystal Palace. Wolves have had the positive news of Raul Jimenez returning to training this week, albeit only some light fitness work.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have struggled somewhat in his absence and they sit 13th in the Premier League after one win in the last six, with their most recent game seeing them draw 3-3 with Brighton having led by two goals at the break. Wolves were close to earning a Europa League spot again for the current campaign, but they appear unlikely to do so through the league route this time.
As such, they may well feel they should attack the FA Cup as a realistic chance of both silverware and continental competition for next term, though they’ll have to be at their best in each round to achieve that feat.
As for Palace, they are one place below Wolves in the league and just one goal worse off, level on points after beating bottom club Sheffield United at the weekend. Roy Hodgson’s men aren’t among the favourites for the cup, but they can cause an upset along the way if they manage to get past the third round - which they have failed to do twice in the last three years.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of the match at Molineux.
When is the match?
The game kicks off at 7:45pm on Friday, 8 January 2021.
Where can I watch it?
The match will be shown live on BT Sport Extra 2. The game can also be streamed by subscribers on BT Sport’s app and desktop website.
What is the team news?
Either manager could opt to go with a below-strength line-up to give squad players some game time, but Wolves do not play again until Tuesday and Palace play on Thursday - so recovery time should be fine for most players.
Jonny is still out for Wolves and Leander Dendoncker is a doubt, but Willy Boly should be ready to return.
Palace are missing Mamadou Sakho, Gary Cahill and Martin Kelly, plus back-up goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and youngster Nathan Ferguson.
WOL: Ruddy, Semedo, Coady, Saiss, Ait-Nouri, Dendoncker, Neves, Adama, Moutinho, Neto, Fabio Silva
CRY: Butland, Clyne, Tomkins, Sakho, Van Aanholt, Ayew, Reidewald, McCarthy, Eze, Batshuayi, Benteke
Wolves - 8/7
Draw - 23/10
Crystal Palace - 3/1
Wolves have the better options to rotate perhaps, and they are more likely to take the game seriously as a candidate to go deep in the competition and try to earn a European spot by winning the FA Cup. That mindset could prove crucial in a tight game. Wolves 1-0 Palace
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