Wolves have been handed a double fitness boost for the visit of Chelsea on Saturday as they seek their first Premier League win of the season.
Matt Doherty and Romain Saiss are both fit and available for the game after recent concerns. Doherty underwent a small operation for a non-footballing issue during the international break and missed Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifiers against Switzerland and Bulgaria. Saiss returned home early from Morocco duty with a minor knock.
“Romain had a minor problem with the international team but he’s been having treatment and he is doing well,” said head coach Nuno Espirito Santo. “He is an option for tomorrow. Doherty had a a small surgery not related to football. I will leave that confidential part between the doctor and patient though!”
Doherty missed the Torino home leg and the Everton game after coming off in the 1-1 draw against Burnley and has endured an indifferent start to the season not helped by a knee injury, while Saiss, who scored at Goodison, is an option to replace Willy Boly. The giant centre back is the only player missing due to a one-match suspension after his sending off at Everton last time out.
Nuno preferred to concentrate on the players available to him rather than dwell on the reasons for Boly’s dismissal for two yellow cards in the 3-2 defeat at Goodison. “It’s normal. These situations happen,” he added. “What we need is to be ready for it. We have another player coming in and the team has to perform as well.
“It’s always the same – counting on who is available to us. Boly is not, so forget about him. The most important thing is everybody is OK with the exception of Boly, who we cannot use.”
Nuno is relieved everyone has come back fit and healthy. Striker Raul Jimenez didn’t arrive back in the UK until 7am on Thursday after Mexico’s two games in the USA, which leaves little time for recovery and preparation.
“The international break we had 10 players away with their teams which we are delighted with,” said the head coach. “The best thing is when they come back and are healthy so they give us a couple of days to prepare for the next one. We stayed here and worked with the Under-23s. All that we have planned we have been doing, but it is all about the competition.”
Chelsea have central defender Antonio Rudiger available for the first time this season after recovering from a knee ligament injury. Manager Frank Lampard said: “He is fit. It’s a choice for myself, but he will have an important role. We have missed him as we have with a few more front line players. It is important in a team.”
Mateo Kovavic is fit and Pedro is available but midfielder N’Golo Kante won’t play as he’s still not over an ankle problem.