The World Cup is over, and Wolves are back in action tonight at Molineux.
Julen Lopetegui takes his first competitive match, and fans are hoping the new era gets off to the best possible start.
It’s Gillingham in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup at Molineux, and there is obviously big expectation for Wolves to win this match comfortably.
The Gills are rock-bottom of the Football League. And they are even worse in front of goal than Wanderers, scoring just six goals in 20 League Two matches.
Everything points to a Wolves win. But it is obviously paramount that the hosts show respect.
Lopetegui will no doubt drum this into his players before the match.
It will be fascinating to finally watch Wolves under Lopetegui after all the chasing the club did.
His appointment has pretty much been six years in the making, after he first turned down the job to go and manage Spain.
Wolves desperately need to turn things around, and hope Lopetegui can be their savour.
Here’s a first ever Lopetegui XI we could see this evening…
Predicted Wolves XI to face Gillingham in the Carabao Cup fourth round – Julen Lopetegui hands Joe Hodge a start, Diego Costa leads line
Although Jose Sa did not play any minutes at the World Cup with Portugal, it is still likely that Matija Sarkic gets the nod tonight.
He’s been in front of the new manager in Marbella, and has performed well in the previous two rounds.
Lopetegui used a back four and a back three out in Marbelle. But he may give a back four another chance in tonight’s game.
With Jonny Castro Otto out injured, Nelson Semedo should play right-back, with Nathan Collins and Maximilian Kilman in the middle. Rayan Ait-Nouri might play ahead of Hugo Bueno, as he did against Leeds United last time out.
In midfield, it feels like Joe Hodge will be handed a start. The manager seems to like the 20-year-old, and Boubacar Traore is injured. Ruben Neves may also be in need of a rest after his exploits at the World Cup.
Joining Hodge could be Joao Moutinho and Matheus Nunes.
Nunes didn’t feature much in Qatar and should be fairly fresh to play tonight. And if he does, he should be used in a box-to-box role.
In attack, maybe Hwang Hee-chan will get a run out. The star was a hero for South Korea at the World Cup, and this is a ‘nice’ game for him to build on that. It would be great to see him score in a Wolves shirt for the first time since February.
Adama Traore could play from the right, with Diego Costa through the middle.
Lopetegui did talk about Raul Jimenez yesterday and suggested he was available, but that they are working to get him to peak fitness.
Wolves (4-3-3): Sarkic/Semedo, Collins, Kilman, Ait-Nouri/Hodge, Nunes, Moutinho/A.Traore, Costa, Hwang.