Wolves prepare to trim numbers after PNE's visit
It looks like being a very busy summer at Wolves once their Molineux clash with Preston brings the curtain down on the season.
The Midlands outfit have used 34 players this term – which is far too many in the eyes of boss Paul Lambert.
He inherited a big squad when appointed in November and intends embarking on a large pruning job.
Lambert: “You can’t work with 30-odd guys, it’s nigh-on impossible.
“You have to get a number where it suits everybody.
“There are too many players here and I think there are 14 out on loan, which includes young players.
“It’s impossible. You have to get the squad down to a number you can work with.
“Too many players…it’s not healthy for the player or the club.
“If you’re a footballer with ambition you want to play the game, you don’t just want to hang around the place.
“That’s not your job. Your job is to play football, whether it’s this level, higher or lower.
“Around 23, low 20s, that’s a good number.”
Wolves spent chunks of the season too close for comfort to the relegation zone.
A run of five wins in March and early April lifted them free from danger.
That sequence included back-to-back away wins in London over Brentford and Fulham.
Things have been a bit more of a struggle of late, with them winning just one of the last six – the win came away to Leeds.
Wolves have lost their last two games, 1-0 at home to Huddersfield and last week’s 3-1 reverse at Derby.
They lost Ivan Cavaleiro to a red card in the first half against Derby, the Portuguese winger sent off for a headbutt.
Cavaleiro, a £7m signing from Monaco last summer, will miss PNE’s visit as he starts a three-game ban.
Reflecting on the red card, Lambert said: “I can’t defend it, he’s a young lad who has just moved to this country and he’s a talented footballer but I can’t sit here and defend it.
“I’ve seen it for myself and as soon as you do that you know the consequences.”
Another Portuguese who will miss Sunday’s clash is Helder Costa – an ankle injury has kept him on the sidelines for seven games.
Wolves’ record £13m buy is expected to attract plenty of attention this summer.
Said Lambert: “The ankle is still giving him bother and he’s not done anything for four or five weeks now.
“Even if he was fit, it would be a big ask to put him in with no training.”
Conor Coady is set to fill in at right-back again – the former Liverpool player is a midfielder by trade.
The fitness of former PNE goalkeeper Andrew Lonergan is being assessed by Wolves, as he has missed the last two games because of a back injury. Lonergan kept goal in the reverse fixture in November, which ended in a goalless draw.
It was the first time he had played at Deepdale since his exit in 2011 – he joined PNE as a teenager.