O'Neil | 'Hee Chan’s in the matchday squad which is fantastic'

Gary O’Neil says Hee Chan Hwang will return to the Wolves squad this weekend, as his group’s injury problems continue to lift.

The South Korean has been out since late February with a hamstring injury and, after missing out on the squad against West Ham United, has another week of fitness in his legs and will make the trip to Nottingham Forest. He’ll joined the recently fit against Craig Dawson and Matheus Cunha in the travelling group and will hope Rayan Ait-Nouri is passed fit to feature too, as the Old Gold look for a first win in four Premier League matches.

On the injuries lifting

“Hee Chan’s in the matchday squad which is fantastic news for us. Cunha’s still fine and in the matchday squad. ‘Daws’ is in the matchday squad again. For Bellegarde, it probably comes too early. We’ll check him in the morning, but I wouldn’t think ‘JJ’ would play much of a part.

“Rayan’s with the group, he’s had different week to the others with the slight issue he has, but it is a minor issue, nothing too significant in there. He’ll travel with the group, we’ll name the team in the morning and it gives him another day to see how he’s feeling. I envisage him being part of the matchday squad.”

On easing players back into it

“That’s how it’s worked this season. It was the same with Pedro, when he was coming back from his significant hamstring injury. Matheus Cunha is in that process at the minute as well. ‘Channy’ will be similar. It’s not always minutes, the game has moved to a place where you get data on how far they’ve run and amount of sprints. We’ll have an area we feel is safe for the players and one where they start to go over that.

“I think back to Chelsea away, when I was desperate not to take Pedro off, but he'd crept into a dangerous zone in his workload and we were forced to take him off. Sometimes not always minutes, sometimes it’s the load they’re getting through. It’s taken a while and we’ve suffered quite a few knocks in this last few weeks and months, but they are starting to come back and it’s starting to look a bit more positive.”

On facing a different Forest

“If you look back to the home game, it was 1-1 and a very sort of defensive set-up from them – they sat there with nine players defending and a couple of counter attacks. They don’t play anything like that anymore. They’re still a big counter attack threat because of what they have on the pitch, but a very different style, so it’ll be a different test.

“I look at what they have available and the threats they have, and what we need to do about them. Then some issues we can try and cause them and what best suits what we have available. We’re not quite at full strength yet, some players coming back which is really positive for us, but we’re not back to the free flowing best that we were with all of our attacking players available, so we’re still having to be creative with certain things.”

On the group battling on

“The credit to the group is we remained positive throughout, even with some difficult results, we’ve still managed to show in large parts what we are. I thought the first half against West Ham was excellent. Second half they still didn’t do much and they were crazy goals which handed West Ham three points.

“Burnley fought hard and got a point, Aston Villa we gave a run for their money and missed a couple of chances. We’ve got to keep going like that and hope we do pick up enough points until we get ourselves back into a stronger position squad-wise.”