Roll up, roll up, welcome to the Cabinet of Dr Caligari, live from Molineux at 3pm tomorrow.
Doctor Caligari is not actually the chief medical officer at Juve but was in fact the lead character in a 1920s silent movie wherein all mysterious things went on and some believe the phrase “smoke and mirrors” originated from. It’s a black and white classic like Nosferatu and Metropolis but these days very much niche viewing of course. I love it!
Tomorrow’s smoke and mirrors make it utterly impossible to predict who will take the field for either side. Wolves are going great guns under new Portuguese manager Bruno Lage and have gleaned 13 points from their last five Premier League matches. Just like Norwich City they have not made a significant signing for the first team in the January window and have loaned out Adama Traore [a player I have always admired] to Barcelona with an option to buy.
I know Bournemouth are not Barca but nevertheless, there is a certain situational alignment here, isn’t there Todd?
There is no way the Wolvers can gain European qualification but equally the threat of relegation we are haunted with will certainly not be entertained by anybody connected with the Black Country Club from owners to fans alike.
To my mind, this means they might as well go full tilt for the FA Cup and I wouldn’t be surprised if they fielded the strongest side they can tomorrow. They have absolutely nothing to lose by taking that approach and it’s one I fully expect them to adopt.
So who will we send into the fray?
It’s always difficult to tell with modern-day Cup ties. According to Dean Smith, Mattias Normann is back in the frame and it is possible that Billy Gilmour and Zimbo will be available too. All three have trained this week. There has been no news on Tim Krul which I find slightly disturbing in all honesty so Angus Gunn must surely continue in goal. Sir Sulkalot has departed to Dorset.
Oh well, he probably couldn’t have been ar$ed to turn out if he was still here, so there’s no loss there then.
Dean Smith will obviously call the shots and he must dictate who needs game time and who needs a little bit of a rest.
I’d say Pepe Placheta and Christos Tzolis would benefit from some minutes, as would all three of the recent returnees. Maybe Kieran Dowell as well I suppose, but that’s Deano’s call.
When it comes to a deserved rest Grant Hanley has been playing with injections for so long now he’d be first on my list. Maybe Max Aarons too but Max being Max, he will want to play I am sure. So indeed will Grant, probably.
Tomorrow’s team news at 2pm will certainly be interesting, whichever of the two sides you might support.
MFW regular Don Harold lives in the West Midlands. He knows and works with several Wolves fans so will desperately be hoping for a Norwich win in order to gain the upper hand in next week’s office banter.
For me, I think we have other, bigger and far more difficult fish to fry this season but a place in the last 16 would be an enjoyable bonus.
Dr Cagliari is the only person who could predict the line-ups tomorrow. Via my ouija board, I’m going to ask him for the result and the name of the first scorer as well as I haven’t been to the bookies in ages.
Que sera sera.
Here’s a clip featuring probably the most famous Wolves fan the world has ever seen. Enjoy and I hope the title doesn’t refer to NCFC:
UPDATE FROM DEAN SMITH’S PRESS CONFERENCE THIS MORNING:
Both Normann and Gilmour are indeed fit and available tomorrow. Lukas Rupp and Andrew Omobamidele are likely to be available for the visit of Palace on Wednesday.
Less precise on Jacob Sorensen [knee] and Tim Krul [shoulder], Smith says Sorensen’s recovery is going well and he won’t be out for much longer but we shouldn’t expect to see Krul back until March although the latter is doing some light training.