Wolves will come face to face with a wounded Manchester United looking for blood when they travel to Old Trafford on Saturday.
The reigning Premier League champions will be hoping to avoid a first home defeat in 31 years against Mick McCarthy’s side just days after their shock Champions League exit midweek.
The startling form of August and September has been put to one side for the moment as United resort to ugly wins in their quest to keep up with neighbours City and while the opening weeks of the campaign yielded 21 goals Sir Alex’s men have been less potent since the shock defeat at home to City scoring just 5 goals on their way to a still impressive 13 points from a possible 15.
Wolves meanwhile will head to Old Trafford in buoyant mood after two wins in their last four games moved them out of the relegation zone. A 3-1 win over Wigan sandwiched in between defeats to Everton and Chelsea was followed up with a 2-1 win over Sunderland last week and with Stoke, Norwich and Bolton in their four games McCarthy’s side will fancy their chances of reaching the mid table mark by New Years.
Win’s from those games appear a more realistic target for Wolves and while there won’t be the mass changes experienced at Old Trafford two seasons ago with bigger fish to fry over the coming weeks McCarthy could be forgiven for tinkering slightly with his side.
Prediction: United will be keen to get back to winning ways after their shock exit midweek and they will be keen to do it sooner rather than later.
Despite the loss of Vidic, United should have too much power for a Wolves side that has only won once away from home all season, that win came on the opening weekend of the season against Blackburn.
Since then they have only picked up one more point on the road and even the rather low on 1.25 with Betfair still looks a likely outcome.
For those looking for a bit more bang for their buck, the 3-1 score line at 12.5 appeals
Sir Alex Ferguson will be without a number of key personnel for the clash with Wolves as he faces up to the prospect of being without 9 first team players.
The loss of Nemanja Vidic who is out for the rest of the season is the latest blow and the Serbian joins a lengthy injury list that includes Javier Hernandez and Tom Cleverley (both ankle), Michael Owen (thigh), Anderson (knee) and Brazilian twins Rafael and Fabio.
Dimitar Berbatov is also a doubt heading into the game as is former Aston Villa winger Ashley Young who went off during the defeat to Basle with an injured toe.
United have been boosted by the return of Michael Carrick from suspension while Phil Jones should revert to the back line either in the middle or the right.
Mick McCarthy must decide whether to recall Karl Henry after his one month suspension after watching his side beat Sunderland last weekend and with the recalled Jody Craddock suffering a hamstring injury in that win summer signing Roger Johnson is line to return to the starting eleven.
United (from): De Gea, Lindegaard, Amos, Evans, Smalling, Ferdinand, Evra, Jones, Fryers, Cole, Fletcher, Carrick, Young, Valencia, Park, Gibson, Nani, Giggs, Macheda, Rooney, Welbeck, Berbatov, Diouf.
Wolves (from): Hennessey, De Vries, Stearman, Zubar, Johnson, Craddock, Berra, Ward, Hammill, O’Hara, Hunt, Henry, Guedioura, Jarvis, Doyle, Doherty, Elokobi, Milijas, Edwards, Ebanks-Blake, Fletcher, Doherty.