We will have hit October by the time we kick off on Saturday and we are still awaiting our first win.
It is crucial that we play as well as we did against Watford and show a more clinical edge.
Below we discuss our predicted starting eleven for the game against Wolves:
Karl Darlow – The goalkeeper has done okay without standing out since his return to the team. Martin Dubravka is closing in on a return, but this weekend probably comes too soon for the number one.
Javier Manquillo – It has been a good return to the team for the Spaniard. The team look more balanced with him at full-back. He is a better defender than Murphy, while he still offers some attacking threat.
Federico Fernandez – In the absence of Lascelles, we need Fernandez in the team. He provides experience and leadership to the back line. This is an important match for him and he could be caused problems by the pace in the Wolves attack.
Ciaran Clark – Bruce likes having a left footed centre back and Clark is the only one we have that can play in a back four. He is an issue and will struggle against a centre forward like Raul Jimenez.
Matt Ritchie – Bruce has admitted that he doesn’t see a major difference between the roles of full back and wing back. That is an issue, as Ritchie will be targeted. If Adama Traore starts, he could have an awful day. I would start Lewis, but that doesn’t seem to be on the table.
Isaac Hayden – It has been a frustrating season for Hayden, as he has already been used in several positions. He looked more suited to the holding role last weekend and deserves to retain his place.
Sean Longstaff – The homegrown midfielder has been one of the best players in recent weeks, as he is getting back to his best form in black and white. He will pose an attacking threat with his forward runs, while his passing range will be important on the counter attack.
Joe Willock – It has been a slow start to the season for our only summer signing, but he started to offer a bigger threat last weekend. His match fitness is increasing and he could be very important in helping improve our final ball. Willock is one of the best finishers in the squad, so we need to get him into scoring positions.
Miguel Almiron – The Paraguayan looks more suited to the current formation, as he has more license to join attacks. Wolves will likely dominate the ball, which means we have to be good on the counter attack to create chances. Almiron is one of our best in transition when carrying the ball.
Joelinton – It has been a steady improvement for Joelinton during 2021, but his end product and instincts in the final third remain an issue. There will be calls to bring Dwight Gayle into the starting eleven, but the Brazilian is likely to keep his place.
Allan Saint-Maximin – There are few players in better form than the Frenchman. He is improving his decision making in the final third and he is our most dangerous player at the moment. Marcel is a player he can target in the Wolves back line. Conor Coady is another one who may struggle with Saint-Maximin’s direct style.