3 Wolves players that will see fewer minutes after six January signings
Wolverhampton Wanderers Training Session
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3 Wolves players that will see fewer minutes after six January signings

January was a busy month for Wolves, and it needed to be.

Julen Lopetegui’s arrival at the club was a major boost for the club. But the Spaniard stated right from the off that he needed to improve the squad going forwards.

The board backed him heavily, with Matheus Cunha, Mario Lemina, Pablo Sarabia, Craig Dawson, Dan Bentley and Joao Gomes all joining.

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Wolves now have a squad that has a nice blend of youth, experience and quality.

It’s a squad that should not be going down. But Lopetegui has been left a lot to do, and it will take time for everything to come together.

With six new faces coming through the door, it’s possible a few players in the squad will now see a reduction in their minutes moving forwards.

Here are three Wolves players who could be affected by Wolves’ January business.

Joe Hodge

Hodge made his first-team debut for Wolves earlier this season, coming on at half-time in the Premier League game against Chelsea back in October.

The youngster is a brilliant talent, and it’s been fantastic to see him being handed opportunities by Steve Davis and Lopetegui.

Lopetegui is a big fan of Hodge.

He praised him to his face as he was taking a tour of Compton when he first arrived, and the Spaniard has since handed him a handful of appearances.

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But Hodge could now see a reduction in his minutes.

Wolves went out and signed Mario Lemina and Joao Gomes in January. Lemina has already made a couple of appearances, and Gomes has huge potential and it won’t be long before he comes a genuine option for Lopetegui.

You’ve got Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho and Matheus Nunes as the main options for midfield. And Boubacar Traore will soon return from injury. And then Pablo Sarabia, Daniel Podence and Matheus Cunha can all play as number 10s.

Lopetegui has kept hold of Hodge rather than letting him go out on loan so he could still feature a bit. But it could definitely be a bit of a slog for him in the coming months.

Diego Costa

Diego Costa, by many accounts, has been a fantastic addition to the Wolves’ dressing room.

But on the pitch it hasn’t really happened for him so far.

It is very clear he is not the same player he was at Chelsea, and he is still yet to open his account for Wanderers.

He was being used quite regularly either side of the World Cup, but his minutes could now take a hit.

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Raul Jimenez’s fitness has been getting better since he came back from Qatar, and Lopetegui seemingly has faith in him to do a job.

Wolves have now signed Cunha, and the Brazilian looks a real livewire. While he’s not an absolute out-and-out striker, Wolves have deployed him through the middle, and they do feel he can play there.

£50,000-a-week star Costa was an unused substitute in the 3-0 defeat to Manchester City. Perhaps that is an indicator that Costa has indeed slipped down the pecking order.

Hwang Hee-chan

After his heroics for South Korea at the World Cup, Hwang looked very confidence in his first few games back for Wolves.

But recently he’s again struggled to impact games.

And now, Hwang’s chances to play regularly might be about to take a big hit.

Podence has been in really good form this season, and has been the man to make things happen for Wolves. He’s the top scorer, and he’s responded very well to Lopetegui’s arrival. He appears to have that left side locked down, and the manager rates him a lot.

Hwang can play through the middle, but Cunha has come in as cover and competition for Jimenez and Costa.

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On the right, there is now a fight on between Adama Traore and Sarabia. The signing of Sarabia isn’t particular good news for Hwang as he can play all the positions he can.

And then on top of all this competition, there is Pedro Neto to come back into the fold.

The winger has resumed training and Lopetegui will soon be able to call on him for games.

Quite possibly, Hwang could really have a hard time getting minutes in the coming months.