HomeFA CupCunha in contention for Wolves as O'Neil sets sights on Wembley

Cunha in contention for Wolves as O’Neil sets sights on Wembley

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Matheus Cunha looks set to be available for Wolves’ FA Cup quarter-final against Coventry City on Saturday, as boss Gary O’Neil eyes a trip to Wembley Stadium for the semi-finals.

O’Neil has been touted as a potential manager of the season after leading Wolves into the top half of the Premier League table, while wins over Brentford, West Brom and Brighton have put his team one step away from an FA Cup semi-final.

Wolves have continued to impress despite seeing a number of key attackers suffer injuries in recent weeks.

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Cunha has missed over a month with a hamstring issue, while Hwang Hee-chan is unlikely to return until mid-April after sustaining a similar problem. Pedro Neto and Jean-Ricner Bellegarde, meanwhile, limped off in the first half of last week’s 2-1 win over Fulham.

While O’Neil was unwilling to provide team news updates at Friday’s pre-match press conference, he says Cunha’s return to training has provided a major boost.

“He’s looking good and done really well,” O’Neil said of Cunha. “The lads are happy to have him back in training. It’s given everyone a lift.”

Asked about Neto and Bellegarde, O’Neil said: “I’m pleased with the state of where people are, at this moment. From where it could have been to where it is, we’re probably in a better spot.

“But I’m sure our fans will understand giving team news away before an FA Cup quarter-final will hand unnecessary advantages to the opposition. It’s important we keep stuff in-house, that’s why we haven’t named the team yet.”

Wolves’ last trip to Wembley ended in heartbreaking fashion as they squandered a 2-0 lead in a 3-2 extra-time defeat to Watford in an FA Cup semi-final classic in 2019.

O’Neil has made the FA Cup a priority since January and is determined to give the club’s supporters another chance to visit Wembley, saying: “The ability I saw in this group made me think wasting the cup would be a real waste.

“With the amount of talent in the room, I thought; ‘why wouldn’t we go for it?’ To win a cup, it’s tough. You need a lot of things to go your way.

“None of my attention is on winning it, it’s on beating Coventry tomorrow. It will be a huge test and we need to get through it. When the prize is a place at Wembley, it would be fantastic for the club.

“Our approach to it will definitely be the same. We will need the fans to help us out, especially when we have players missing, but I’m desperate to give the fans more enjoyable moments.”

Harry Carr
Harry Carr
Harry is a freelance sports journalist with experience of working for the Racing Post, Stats Perform, Opta Analyst and more, covering major events across all sports but holding a particular love for the beautiful game.

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