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Boss Set For Blackpool Test


11:30 21st December 2012

Hosts on decent unbeaten run

Ståle Solbakken insists Wolves will be ready for a ‘pitch battle’ with a difference when they face Blackpool tonight.

The Molineux boss is well aware that the Bloomfield Road surface has had its problems in recent weeks – with home boss Michael Appleton admitting he had to adapt his team’s style accordingly -  but plays down suggestions that it will pose particular problems to his side.

“I don’t think the pitch is so bad but it was very slippy in the game against Blackburn,” he said.

“The players fell over and struggled. It’s not one of the best.

“It’s the first time I’ve mentioned the pitch when I’ve talked about the opposition. We have to adapt to it, as will they (Blackpool).”

The 11th-placed Seasiders have not lost since the appointment of Appleton as their manager and are unbeaten in eight matches, although five of those have been drawn.

Paul Ince’s son Thomas has been busy making headlines both this season and last while on-loan Aston Villa forward Nathan Delfouneso has also impressed.

“Blackpool are better now than a few weeks ago,” Solbakken added. “They were certainly the better team against Blackburn and it was the right result. They were rock solid.

“Ince and Delfouneso have been very active. They are very mobile and switch sides. They change position all the time.

“Blackpool are a very good side, with good individuals who can cause problems.

“But I’m hoping we can continue our progress from the last three games and climb the table.

“We would like to have had more points obviously and be closer to the top but we can’t dwell on that and have to go on. Everything is still possible.”

Jamie O’Hara was not part of the squad who left Molineux yesterday, although he hopes to be back in contention for a first-team place soon.

The midfielder has yet to play this season because of groin problems but is at least back playing football.

“He is closer to being able to train every day with a certain intensity,” the manager said. “He played 60 minutes in an internal game on Tuesday and got a small reaction but he took part in everything again (in training).

“He’s not in the squad for Blackpool. I’m not fooling myself into doing that. The last thing we want is for him to break down now. He has been out a long time.”

The boss is reluctant to talk much yet about the Christmas programme, believing tonight’s televised game to be separate from the holiday rush. But he has confirmed some festive plans – on and off the pitch.

Wolves have home games against Peterborough and Ipswich next Wednesday and Saturday respectively before heading to Crystal Palace in the League and Luton in the FA Cup the following week.

“The players are off on the 25th but will come in very early on the 26th to make extra preparations, so we are 100 per cent that everyone is ready for the Peterborough game,” Solbakken added.

“I consulted with the staff as to what has been done in the past.

“The squad has been pushed to the limit by all the injuries, especially in one area. That can take its toll on the performances if the players aren’t rested enough.

“It means some will play more minutes (over the holiday) than was first planned. We have to deal with it and we’re looking forward to getting bodies back in January as well as in.”


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