Julen Lopetegui is now putting his new Wolves players through their paces – and it’s an important period for Molineux number two Matija Sarkic with Jose Sa currently out of the picture.
The Montenegro international is with the first-team squad at Compton Park and looking to make a big impression in front of the new manager.
Jose Sa is currently with Portugal at the World Cup.
Fernando Santos’ side have reached the knockout stages, meaning Wolves trio – Sa, Ruben Neves and Matheus Nunes – will be staying in Qatar a little while longer yet.
Portugal have the potential to go deep in the competition.
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But it’s unlikely that Sa will be getting any minutes, with Diogo Costa and Rui Patricio both ahead of him in the pecking order.
So Lopetegui won’t really have the chance to see him in action.
But he will be seeing Sarkic a lot and up close in the coming weeks.
Sarkic has made just two appearances so far this season for Wolves.
The 25-year-old has featured in both of Wolves’ Carabao Cup matches against Preston North End and Leeds United, and impressed both times.
He is still waiting for a chance to play in the Premier League, with Sa firmly established as the number one at Molineux.
Matija Sarkic can give Julen Lopetegui a selection headache at Wolves, with Jose Sa currently out of sight and out of mind
This season, Sa has arguably not quite been at the same level he was in 2021/22.
He deserves big credit for the two penalty saves he made against Nottingham Forest and Fulham.
But he hasn’t quite been performed to the same high standard he was last term and so Sarkic has the chance to at least make Lopetegui think.
He needs to be bang at it in training everyday if he is going to force the Spaniard to pick him ahead of Sa.
Wolves’ first game under the new manager is against Gillingham in the Carabao Cup fourth round. And that will be a chance for Sarkic send a further message.
It will be tough, because Sa has a lot of credit in the bank from last season. But Sarkic will certainly fight for the shirt.