With Romain Saiss now away at AFCON with Morocco, the focus at Wolves is very much about who will cover for the star.
He has been a very important player this season.
Saiss, maligned by some last season, has been instrumental in Wolves having the second-best defensive record in the Premier League so far.
He could potentially be a big loss, and Bruno Lage has got to figure out who is best suited to replace him.
It would seem there are two candidates for the job: Leander Dendoncker and Fernando Marcal.
Marcal started as a direct replacement for Saiss in Sunday’s FA Cup match against Sheffield United.
He was substituted at half-time as a precaution. Dendoncker then operated on the right of the back three with Max Kilman moving to Saiss’ usual position.
Both have cases to start against Southampton. There was little between them against the Blades, although maybe Dendoncker slightly shaded it.
Former Wolves stars Chris Iwelumo and Andy Thompson discussed the pair on Matchday Live Extra, and seemingly had different takes.
Thompson said (via Wolves’ official website): “I think Dendoncker will be in the defence for the next few games. The team that finished this game will roughly be the team which starts Saturday for me. Especially the three at the back.
Iwelumo added: “But that’s dependant on Marcal. I thought he was outstanding in the first-half, and it is a concern picking up all these little niggly injuries.
“But he was on the front foot, he was anticipating, he’s mobile, a fantastic transition with the ball, so hopefully it is just one of those that if he’s fit he comes straight in, but there are other players who can drop back.”
A tough one to call between Dendoncker and Marcal
There really wasn’t too much between the two in terms of performance level against Sheffield United.
It will be very interesting to see what Lage does.
If Marcal is fit to play, it could well be him that gets the nod.
For the simple fact that he can naturally slot into Saiss’ position, which he played himself numerous times at Lyon.
Going with Marcal would allow Kilman to stay on the right. The 24-year-old has flourished there, and Lage may not want to move him from there.
Whatever he decides, Lage will no doubt get the full backing of the fans. He has got his team selections right more often than not this term so far.