Goalkeeper John Ruddy has an extra incentive for Wolves to reach Wembley – because he will keep his place in the FA Cup.
The 32-year-old faces Manchester United in the sixth round tie at Molineux on Saturday night, replacing first-choice Rui Patricio.
Head coach Nuno Espirito Santo revealed the former Norwich shotstopper will remain his number one in the Cup if Wolves clinch their first semi-final since 1998.
“The first game in the competition we made this decision, so nothing has changed, and if we go on, we will keep the same,” he said.
Ruddy has played in all six cup games this season, plus the 2-0 win against Cardiff in the Premier League two weeks ago, to re-acclimatise him for the visit of United.
Nuno, a former goalkeeper himself, insists Ruddy is ready to play.
“Honestly, I think John is ready; he is a good option. I hope it results well,” he added.
“Rui doesn’t miss out on anything – it was something that we planned and decided from the first game in the competition.”
Ryan Bennett has played with Ruddy for nearly seven years, five of which were at Norwich from 2012 before they both joined Wolves in the summer of 2017.
The former Peterborough defender believes Ruddy has more than deserved his extended chance in the cups because of his form and professionalism.
“I’ve played with him a lot of years now and he’s a top keeper, everyone saw that last season,” said Bennett.
“People are quick to forget what he did for the club. He was massive in that last season.
“This season, bringing Rui in was always going to be difficult for him, but every time John’s come in he’s done well.
“He kept a clean sheet against Cardiff in the Premier League, when he was commanding as ever.”
Bennett says Ruddy has remained the model professional, despite losing his place for league games this season.
“People who know him and speak to him know how hard he trains every day,” he stressed.
“The way he is around the lads, not once has he ever put his head down.
“That’s a compliment to him, he works as hard this season as he did last year, even when he’s not been in the team.
“That’s credit to him and I said, if he does that then it’s not a surprise to anyone here that he’s grasped it.”
At 32, Ruddy is the second oldest member of the squad, just 46 days younger than Joao Moutinho, and has racked up nearly 450 senior appearances, more than anyone else in the squad.