Express & Star

Wolves star set for match day return at Burnley

Matheus Cunha is expected to make his return to the Wolves squad as they face Burnley tomorrow night.

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On the back of a West Midlands derby loss to Villa, Wolves have been handed a major boost by the return of the Brazilian international.

The forward was close to being included at Villa and barring any setbacks in training, he will make the squad tomorrow just seven weeks after a significant hamstring injury.

"I think we'll see him on Tuesday and he'll definitely be in the match day squad," O'Neil said.

"He's miles ahead of schedule. When the scan results came through after the injury it was expected to be 10-12 weeks and it's just over seven and he's doing absolutely everything.

"He was knocking my door down to be involved in the Aston Villa game, but we had to make sure it was right for him.

"We've had some setbacks already this season from injuries. You have medical information that tells us he shouldn't quite be ready yet and then we have Matheus Cunha who looks ready and tells me he's ready.

"He rang me about four times this week at 9.30pm or 10pm telling me how ready he is, but I want to help him because we need to make sure we tick off enough boxes.

"He did a great session on the grass on Friday and he was able to test his hamstring, which puts him in a great spot for Tuesday night and into next Saturday.

"It's important we don't let the situation change the decisions we make. It's still the same regardless of whether we have 11 available or 24 available.

"We need to be clear on making good decisions and he's still miles ahead of schedule, but he looks 100 per cent ready, so lets see how quickly we can get him in."

Cunha was also in contention to play against Coventry in the FA Cup before the international break, but O'Neil has taken a cautious approach with the forward's return.

Wolves also have Jean-Ricner Bellegarde, Craig Dawson, Hwang Hee-chan and Pedro Neto sidelined – with the latter suffering a big setback that has likely ended his season.

When asked if Neto's situation impacted the cautious approach with Cunha, O'Neil added: "They're different situations because the medical reports on Pedro were that he was fine, whereas the medical reports on Cunha are that he shouldn't be fine yet.

"But he's doing everything that makes it look like he's ready to play in the Premier League.

"Me and him take these decisions together. He wanted to be involved (against Villa) but I told him I'd leave him out so that he can get boxes ticked and look towards Tuesday.

"We understand the risks and hindsight will tell us if we're wrong or right, but we're doing the best we can for Cunha and the football club."

Dawson also has a small chance of being involved tomorrow following a groin complaint, while Bellegarde is not yet close to a return after a knee injury.

"Bellegarde no, Daws possibly," O'Neil said.

"He was doing a session outside (on Saturday), so possibly. But Bellegarde will not be available."

Considering all of Wolves' injury concerns and despite Burnley's relegation battle, the Clarets will be a stern test under the lights at Turf Moor.

"There's definitely no easy games, especially with the situation we find ourselves in," O'Neil said.

"Going to Burnley will be tough, of course. It doesn't mean we accept we can't have a big impact on how it goes and take three points, because we definitely can.

"We're desperate to go there and win and get to 44 points. We'll do everything to recover the players and make sure they're ready.

"Burnley got a great result at Chelsea with 10 men and they're a good Premier League team who spent a lot of money in the summer. They will be a test for us."