Wolves determined to avoid another upset at hands of Chorley

Nuno Espirito Santo says Wolves must adapt to a ‘bad’ pitch as they look to avoid an enormous FA Cup upset at Chorley tonight.

The non-league side beat a youthful Derby team 2-0 at Victory Park in the last round and have also got past Wigan and Peterborough (PA)
The non-league side beat a youthful Derby team 2-0 at Victory Park in the last round and have also got past Wigan and Peterborough (PA)

Nuno’s charges are taking on the sixth-tier outfit – the last non-league team left in this season’s competition – in the fourth round.

Wolves head there almost 35 years on from losing 3-0 to the Lancashire side at Bolton’s old Burnden Park ground, in what many consider the darkest day in the club’s history.

This time around, their usual Victory Park base is the venue, and Nuno has told his players to be ready for a tough surface – especially given the pitch has had to be covered this week because of heavy rain.

“The image that we have now, photos taken a couple of days (ago), it looks bad,” he said.

“So, we are ready. We know that we have to adapt and when we see the pitch, we will take a look.

“The warm-up of the players will be very important in terms of having a quick adaptation to the pitch, so better decisions, decisions we have to avoid and others we have to take based on the pitch – but that cannot be our main focus or worry.

“We have to focus on Chorley. We are a competitive team.

“Of course, they are in a lower division, but we have to be competitive. You have to be ready.

“It will not be an excuse for us. We have to compete on the pitch, the referee will be there, the people will be there to judge if the pitch is suitable or can put in danger the fitness and cause any serious injury, but that is not my decision.

“I can have an opinion on it, but what I am focused on is getting my players ready to compete, no matter which pitch we have.

“The moment that Anthony Taylor whistles, we have to go.”

Chorley – currently ninth in National League North – won at Wigan in the first round and then at Peterborough in the second, both of them from League One.

They then beat Championship outfit Derby 2-0 at Victory Park last time out in the Cup, after the Rams were hit by Covid-19 and forced to field a side made up of youngsters.

Nuno is ready for a ‘bad’ pitch at Chorley (AMA)

Wolves, meanwhile, go into it having got past Crystal Palace in the third round.

When asked if the pitch will come into his thinking in terms of players working their way towards full fitness, Nuno said: “Yes. This is all the details we look for, always searching for the best decision – for a player and for the team.

“Of course, we have to be aware of how the pitch is going to be.

“We’ll have all this in our mind, but always choosing the strongest team that we can do.”

John Ruddy is expected to start in goal for Wolves, who Nuno insists are treating this game exactly the same as any other match.

“The game we analysed was against Derby. We took a good look at how they do things,” he said.

“We pass that information on to the players, so the approach is exactly the same.

“It’s about what you want to do in the game and how ready you are.”

Nuno will not have Daniel Podence or Fernando Marcal, who remain on the sidelines along with more long-term absentees Jonny Castro Otto and Raul Jimenez.

Owen Otasowie, though, has trained after missing the last couple of games. Nuno only made two changes for the last round and is keen to go far in the Cup.

“Recent history tells you, especially in this competition, things can happen,” he added.

“We have to be aware of the responsibility that we have.

“I’ve been in football enough time to be on both sides of the situation.

“I’m aware of what it means to Chorley, and what it means for us.”

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