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Wolves' Romain Saiss available for New Year Man United fixture

Wolves have been given a defensive boost as Romain Saiss is set to be available for the trip to Manchester United before joining up with Morocco for the African Cup of Nations.

Romain Saiss. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.
Romain Saiss. Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.

Players called up for the tournament were expected to travel early this week, meaning Wolves would be reduced to just two fit senior centre-backs for the clash at Old Trafford on January 3.

But the Confederation of African Football has now accepted a request from European clubs to keep them for the New Year games – including Wolves’ game with United.

Saiss has been in superb form for Bruno Lage’s side and has contributed to the back three earning five clean sheets in their last seven Premier League games.

And his availability for the United game will be a major boost for Wolves, with Max Kilman and Conor Coady the only other senior centre-backs currently fit.

Willy Boly has also been called up for the tournament by the Ivory Coast and will technically be free for the January 3 fixture, however he is likely to still be injured.

The defender has suffered with injury and illness issues all season and currently has another unspecified knock.

When asked about his absence after the draw with Chelsea on December 19, Lage was particularly coy about the 30-year-old.

He said: “Every time I try to answer all the questions but I think I will give more time and space and then we can say something more clear about Boly.

“What I know is that I’m struggling since the first day with just three central defenders and they are doing a fantastic job.”

Despite being called up for the tournament, it is understood Boly will not travel with his national team to Cameroon unless he regains his fitness.

Instead, he will continue his rehab at Compton.

United’s Eric Bailly has also been called up by the Ivory Coast and will be available to play Wolves.

The African Cup of Nations starts on January 9 and the group stages finish on January 20. If Morocco and Ivory Coast both top their groups, they could meet in the quarter-finals.

Wolves will need to replace Saiss in the team while he is away and Leander Dendoncker, Fernando Marcal and Ki-Jana Hoever are the most likely players to fill in, unless Lage chooses to change his formation. The club could also recall Dion Sanderson from his loan at Birmingham, where he has impressed playing in a back three.

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