Hwang Hee-Chan set to have a scan on hamstring problem
Wolves are sweating on the fitness of Hwang Hee-chan after the forward was forced off in Saturday’s win at Everton with a hamstring injury.
The South Korea international was due to undergo a scan to determine the extent of the problem but would at least appear a major doubt for tomorrow’s Carabao Cup tie with Blackpool and Sunday’s trip to Crystal Palace.
Hwang, who had replaced the suspended Matheus Nunes in the Wolves starting XI, has previously missed time with two other hamstring injuries earlier in the year.
His absence further reduces head coach Gary O’Neil’s options in attack though Rayan Ait-Nouri, who replaced Hwang off the bench, performed impressively in a more-advanced role during the second half.
Sasa Kalajdzic came off the bench to score his first Wolves goal and snatch a late victory for O’Neil’s team, converting Pedro Neto’s pinpoint cross.
But while the boss later saluted a “huge moment” for Kalajdzic, who spent nearly a year on the sidelines after being injured in his first match for Wolves last September, he admitted the Austria international’s role will remain limited as he continues to work his way back to full fitness.
“He is obviously still on journey, getting back to full fitness,” said O’Neil. “He is not one you can play for 90 minutes week in, week out at this moment.
“But I thought Sasa could be that guy (on Saturday) and he was. It was a really good finish, a really smart finish because he was facing the wrong way and it is easy to get disorientated there. He has got a lovely little touch on it to divert it into the corner so I am really pleased for him.”
The boss continued: “It is hard to assess when you come in new. You just see him training and everyone tells you he has been out for a while.
“You just try to judge him at that moment against the rest of that group and the ones he is competing with for a starting place.
“He looked a little bit behind the others, sharpness and fitness-wise, but I obviously don’t have a clear picture in my mind of what he is like when he is full throttle either.
“I have spoken to him a lot about it. He understands where he needs to improve and that he needs extra time on the grass and we need to keep working. But he also understands he can have a big impact on football matches still.”
O’Neil also reserved praise for Jose Sa after the goalkeeper made several key saves to keep the scores level. Sa tipped over from Abdoulaye Doucoure in the second half, having earlier denied Arnaut Danjuma, as Wolves kept their first clean sheet under the new boss.
“He made some big saves,” said O’Neil. “I was stood on the side thinking we needed to go on and win because we were in the ascendency.
“They broke away off a long ball and Sa had to dig us out because conceding them when we’d been on top for a long time would have been tough for the lads to take.
“It was a huge save. There were some big saves at either end but that was big for us.
“That is the nature of Goodison. The top teams come here and still suffer those moments when you have to defend your goal because it is coming in the box.
“The lads stood up to that really well because it’s a tough place to come and keep a clean sheet and they worked really hard for it.”