Wolves’ Carabao Cup trip to Villa Park on Wednesday night gives Nuno a chance to rotate the squad, providing youth players a chance to prove themselves in what is a vital game for Wolves fans.
When the fourth round draw was announced, many fans were excited at the prospect of a local derby. However, after two difficult away games in a short span- including a 2000 mile round-trip to Slovakia- it may be necessary for Nuno to give regular starters a break for the short trip to Aston on Wednesday.
We also have a journey to the Emirates on Saturday to consider. Wolves face a dysfunctional Arsenal side in what is a winnable game for Nuno’s men.
Wolves are likely to be prioritising our League and European campaigns this season, hopefully building on an incredible season last year. This makes the Villa game a perfect opportunity to give Wolves’ exciting youth prospects useful minutes against Premier League opposition.
Players such as Benny Ashley-Seal, who has scored 8 goals in 5 games for the U-23’s, and local lad Taylor Perry who made the trip to Bratislava last Thursday, are both talented youth players who should be given a chance in the first-team squad on a regular basis.
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Wolves’ small squad is already in the midst of a mini-crisis as the result of injuries to defenders Willy Boly and Ryan Bennett. Giving players such as Moutinho, Jimenez and Saiss a break during a tough stretch of games is vital for Wolves’ season. This doesn’t mean Wolves should sacrifice our big local derby, which would rightfully annoy the 5000-strong travelling contingent.
It’s important to consider the fact that Villa will likely be resting some of their own starters. This tie sandwiched in between tough games against City and Liverpool. Wolves will still be able to field a strong side, featuring usual starters such as Coady, Neves and Doherty.
Youngsters like Vinagre, Cutrone and Killman will be keen to prove themselves in a meaningful game. In what is likely to be a rousing atmosphere at Villa Park, the mix of experience and youth will be necessary for both sides who will be keen to progress whilst also considering their upcoming Premier League matches.
Nuno has already shown his belief in rotation with the young team selected to play Reading in the Third Round. Though many fans may hope this doesn’t continue, we must trust in the manager. Nuno should give youth a chance.