Wolves legend Kenny Hibbitt is convinced Nuno Espirito Santo has made the right decision to pick a full strength team for tonight’s visit of Manchester United.
Nuno looks like he will wheel out his big guns with Matt Doherty, Ryan Bennett and Raul Jimenez set to be unleashed after Doherty and Jimenez came off the bench in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat at Burnley and Bennett was suspended.
Wolves play their FA Cup semi-final against Watford at Wembley on Sunday but the head coach is only focused on United.
Hibbitt believes the momentum gained from fielding a strong team and getting a convincing performance this evening can only stand Wolves in good stead.
“I’m glad he’s picking his strongest team. I’m all for that and I hope he plays his strongest XI. They have got plenty of time to recover before the semi-final,” said the former midfielder.
“I don’t understand why anyone would want to play a weaker side. We always played a full strength team.
“It’s important we get three points against United and take that confidence to Wembley for the semi-final.
“We don’t want to be putting out an under-strength team and then getting battered.
“I would definitely put my strongest team out even though we’ve got a big game on Sunday.”
Hibbitt believes it will again be a huge test for Wolves against a resurgent United with their sights on finishing in the top four.
“United didn’t play particularly well on Saturday (won 2-1 against Watford) but they had a bit of luck and got the win,” he added.
“Now he’s got the job permanently, Ole will be wanting to add to their run and continue to put his stamp on the team.
“But we turned them over in the quarter-final and have the confidence from that, and with another fantastic crowd of over 30,000 again, I hope we can play as well as we did a few weeks ago.”
Hibbitt has lived in the West Country for over 30 years now but revealed he continues to be asked by supporters for Wembley tickets whenever he sets foot outside his front door.
“Fingers crossed we can get through. It’s Cup fever all over again, which I have not felt for such a long time,” said the twice League Cup winner.
“People keep coming up to me asking me for tickets, and I want to help them – I would love all of them to go to Wembley – but as a former player, I can’t help them.”
Just as he has done before many home games this season, Hibbitt will be in Wolverhampton signing copies of his autobiography, Seasons Of My Life.
He will be in the Duke Of York pub (formerly the Tap and Spile), in Princess Street, in Wolverhampton city centre from approx. 5pm to 7pm before the game. Supporters are invited to pop in for a chat, have a selfie and buy a book, priced at £20.
Now 68, Hibbitt has been thrilled at the reception he has received and admitted the whole experience was a real eye-opener for him.
“It’s been wonderful, incredible. It’s something I never thought I would have experienced, or even imagined,” he said.
“As a player, coach and manager, you don’t go into the city centre before a game and share the build-up to a match with the supporters because you’re preparing for the game.
“But this has given me the experience of what fans do in the build-up. It’s wonderful and everybody has been superb towards me.
“It’s been incredible over the last nine months or so, ever since the book was launched. I have met so many nice people and passionate fans. They have been brilliant.
“I just never thought when I played that I played such an important part in these people’s lives.”