Wolves blog: No complaints about a replay
Wolves’ FA Cup Third Round replay against Swansea will be their sixth cup match this season...writes Wolves blogger Tom Tracey
Usually, a draw in the FA Cup and the prospect of a replay is an annoyance, unless perhaps it comes after a heroic display in the first tie against one of the big teams or a well-mounted comeback.
In normal circumstances, a trip to the Liberty Stadium would be an unwanted distraction from a league campaign.
But with Wolves sitting twelve points clear of their next competitor, and with a complement of players who can’t get into the matchday squad waiting in the wings, an extra game for Wolves is not really a bad thing.
It gives Will Norris a sixth game of the season and a sixth game in which to keep his fantastic clean sheet record going.
Without this amount of games, we would not have seen what Norris has to offer – and he has a lot to offer, with some clamouring for his replacing of John Ruddy in the first team.
Certainly, he has proven he has great potential and is proving an incredibly astute signing for the club.
Other fringe players such as Kortney Hause, Morgan Gibbs-White and Alfred N’Diaye will get another chance to impress – none of these players have let Wolves down at all this season, but Nuno (understandably) is unwilling to make big changes to his starting eleven.
These players can have no complaints, because Wolves have amassed a remarkable 61 points from just 26 games.
But it would be a shame for players who could get into most other teams in this league to sit on the bench or in the stands week after week – these cup games are important game time for them.
When Wolves went to Man City, of the players who started at the Etihad it was only really Conor Coady and Danny Batth who had been starting league games.
For that much-changed side to show such a heroic effort and come away losing only on the lottery of penalties after a two-hour shutout, is nothing short of brilliant.
This was a game that saw Man City start with big hitters Sergio Aguero, Gabriel Jesus, Raheem Sterling – as well as bringing on the likes of Leroy Sane and Kevin De Bruyne.
Most bookies have Swansea as slight favourites to knock Wolves out on Wednesday night – but this is a great chance of cup progression whilst utilising the lesser-used players.
Wolves fans will be fairly confident about coming away from Wales with a Fourth Round tie against Notts County firmed up.
It would certainly be interesting to see how this ‘second string’ team would fare in the Championship.
There are players of quality in there – even soon-to-be departing Ben Marshall, one of Wolves’ better players in the second half of last season, will not be in that second string.
The strength in depth, for a team competing at Championship level, is frightening.
With Wolves flying, and a bunch of players chomping at the bit to impress, this extra game doesn’t seem so bad at all.