Three key battles that could decide Wolves v Norwich

Wolves' Dominic Iorfa

Before this evening's Championship contest between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Norwich City, we examine three key battles that could sway the result.

Norwich manager Alex NeilNorwich manager Alex Neil

Ahead of the matchup it is the side from Wolverhampton who hold the historical bragging rights to this fixture - In all competitions Wolves are unbeaten in their previous eleven home matches against Norwich. 

Equity, however, is provided in the guise of form. Both Wolves and Norwich experienced defeats in mid-week. The former losing to Wigan Athletic and the latter suffering an excruciating 4-3 loss to Newcastle United, despite leading 3-2 going into injury time. Consequently, Alex Neil and Walter Zenga will be hopeful of a more positive outcome at Molineux.

New Wolverhampton Wanderers manager Walter ZengaWolverhampton Wanderers manager Walter Zenga

The Wolves boss is expected to continue rotational tweaks and make changes to his line-up. Centre-forward Jon Dadi Bodvarsson is due to return for the Wanderers, with the 24-year-old Icelandic international emerging as a vital part of Zenga's forward thinking set-up; perhaps not for Bodvarsson's prolificness rather his ability to bring the best from the likes of Joao Teixeira, Helder Costa and, when featured, Ivan Cavaleiro. 

Norwich City may have defender Timm Klose back in their line-up but have continued doubts over the fitness of Youssouf Mulumbu and will be without the longer-term absentee Matt Jarvis. Aside, manager Alex Neil has a fully fit squad to chose from and could recall playmaker Wes Hoolahan for the Canaries' trip to the West Midlands.

Norwich City's Wes Hoolahan has his penalty saved by Nottingham Forest's Vladimir StojkovicNorwich City's Wes Hoolahan may play a part against Wolverhampton Wanderers

Norwich, currently in second position in the Championship, will be hoping for a return to winning ways prior to the Newcastle defeat on Wednesday - which had seen them ride a five match winning streak. 

The three potentially decisive battles in this contest include experienced Championship competitors and relatively new recruits to the English game.

1. Romain Saiss v Jonny Howson

Norwich's Jonny Howson celebrates scoring their first goal with Wes HoolahanNorwich's Jonny Howson

The battle for midfield dominance between the Moroccan international and the former Leeds United player may prove to be crucial in determining the outcome of the game. Romain Saiss, a summer signing from Ligue 1 side Angers, is emerging as a vital cog in the developing Wolves machine.  

However, Norwich City's Jonny Howson should provide Saiss with a significant challenge in the centre of the field. Howson, known for his creativity and all-round midfield traits, will also have the support of Alexander Tettey and Graham Dorrans in what looks like a formidable Championship central midfield - which may ultimately swing the game in Norwich's favour.

2. Danny Batth v Cameron Jerome

Norwich City's Cameron Jerome in actionNorwich City's Cameron Jerome in action

The Wolves captain, local Danny Batth, will need to keep forward Cameron Jerome subdued if Walter Zenga's side are to keep Norwich at bay. In what promises to be a physical contest between these two, Batth has won more than five aerial battles per game so far this season, while Jerome currently has four goals in nine appearances this campaign, including an effort in the loss to Newcastle.

Batth will have to be alert to get the best of the former Birmingham man, and stop him adding to his tally.

3. Joao Teixeira v Sebastien Bassong

Wolves' Joao TeixeiraWolves' Joao Teixeira

On-loan from Benfica, Joao Teixeira is proving to be a very popular player amongst Wolves supporters. His ability to run with with the ball and eagerness to go past opposition defenders may cause Norwich City's Sebastien Bassong major problems.

Fresh from a brace in Wolves' 3-1 victory over Brentford last week, Teixeira against Bassong could certainly be a key battle. With Norwich captain Russell Martin potentially occupied by Dadi Bodvarsson, Bassong will need to summon his best form from his Premier League days if he is to keep the lively Portuguese subdued.

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