Wolves took on Newcastle United in the Premier League on Sunday – and there was again no room for Joe Hodge in the matchday squad.
Wanderers fell to a 2-1 defeat at St. James’ Park.
Julen Lopetegui picked a strong squad, and the bench included Dan Bentley, Rayan Ait-Nouri, Nathan Collins, Pedro Neto, Hwang Hee-chan, Matheus Cunha, Matheus Nunes, Toti Gomes and Joao Gomes.
It was a far cry away from the opening game of the season against Leeds United, where the bench was filled with mainly youngsters.
It meant there was no selection for Hodge.
The Irish youngster has now missed out on Wolves’ last four matchday squads in the Premier League.
The last time he made the squad was against Bournemouth last month, with Mario Lemina unavailable that day through suspension.
Before that, he was overlooked against Liverpool and West Ham United, but made the squad against Manchester in between.
It is something of a shame for Hodge, who had impressed for Wolves following his debut back in October.
The youngster was handed a chance by interim manager Steve Davis against Chelsea, and went on to make a handful of appearances.
Sadly, he has fallen victim to Wolves’ productivity in January. Two midfielders came in in the form of Mario Lemina and Joao Gomes.
Pedro Neto has also returned from injury to take up another space on the bench. And Boubacar Traore is also almost ready to come back for Wolves.
One does wonder why Wolves didn’t look to send Joe Hodge out on loan in January, as youngster misses another squad
Maybe it was inevitable that Hodge would start missing out on Wolves’ matchday squads.
The club really needed to get players in in January and back Lopetegui in his first window.
Lemina has been a great signing and is Premier League-proven. Gomes has a very high ceiling and Wolves are very excited about what he can offer later down the line.
These two coming in, on top of Ruben Neves, Matheus Nunes, Joao Moutinho and Traore has made life difficult for Hodge.
And Matheus Cunha, Pablo Sarabia and Daniel Podence can all operate as advanced midfielders too.
Supposedly, Wolves did consider sending Hodge out on loan in January.
But in the end Lopetegui decided against that, and blocked his potential exit. The Spaniard is known to really like Hodge.
But one just does wonder if it might have been more beneficial for him to go out and play senior football.
He has proven that he has outgrown youth football, so it’s interesting a move was not sanctioned for him.
U21s manager James Collins did say recently that Hodge had been contending with a ‘niggling injury lately’. So perhaps that may be a reason.