Ruben Neves back in Wolves contention after self-isolation

Ruben Neves is looking to be back for Wolves’ clash with Burnley on Sunday as his period of self-isolation ends.

The 24-year-old midfielder missed the 1-0 win over Sheffield United last weekend after testing positive for Covid-19.

But having spent 10 days in quarantine, the Express & Star understands he could play a part against the Clarets at Molineux (12pm).

Neves recently posted a video on Instagram, keeping up his fitness and sharpness by doing shooting drills in his back garden.

His young son, Martim, was also involved, passing balls to Neves, who then fired them into a bounce board before taking shots past a few training mannequins.

The vice-captain – Wolves’ joint top scorer for 2020/21 along with the injured Pedro Neto, having come up with five goals – is now returning to training at Compton ahead of the game against Sean Dyche’s side, as Nuno Espirito Santo’s side aim to make it three wins on the spin.

Meanwhile, former Wolves physio Paul Darby believes the lack of a proper pre-season has been a key reason behind Fernando Marcal’s injury-ridden first campaign in gold and black.

The Brazilian defender has barely been involved since the turn of the year after undergoing surgery on his right and left thighs.

And Darby, who worked for Wolves between 1986 and 1995, insists the quick turnaround between the 32-year-old getting to the Champions League semi-finals with previous club Lyon and then starting the season with Wolves is a clear example of what has been a widespread problem.

“The adductor muscle is on the inside of your thigh. You’re talking about a muscle which is worked excessively in football, both with your standing leg and your kicking leg,” said Darby. “It would appear that if one had gone first, the other had to take a bit of extra load and wasn’t quite strong enough.

“Pre-season is so important, and one of the reasons we’ve seen so many injuries this year.

“They’ve overloaded them without a pre-season. If it’s a contact injury, then it’s a contact injury, but there’s been an extraordinary number of soft tissue and hamstring issues. I watched a game the other week where somebody pulled up with a hamstring in the 55th minute.

“That’s not right. That shouldn’t happen.”

Marcal played for Lyon against Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-finals on August 18 last year, and also played in their Ligue 1 win over Dijon 10 days later.

His made his Wolves debut in a 2-0 win at the now-relegated Blades on September 14.

Darby added: “This season, players have pulled up at extraordinary times in games with muscle problems. It’s got to be fatigue and that they’ve been overloaded.”

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