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Big Match Preview: Wolves away

Fresh off the back of a 1-0 win at Reading’s Madejski Stadium, Lee Johnson’s squad will travel to the Black Country to face big-spending Wolves tonight (7.45pm).

City will be hoping to secure successive victories for the first time this season at Molineux – a ground they have failed to win at since 1931.

Here’s a look at the tonight's opponents.

FACTFILE

Formed: 1877
Nickname: Wolves
Website: www.wolves.co.uk
Twitter: @Wolves
Ground: Molineux
Capacity: 31,700

Honours
First Division
– 1953/54, 1957/5858, 1958/59
Second Division/Championship – 1931/32, 1976/77, 2008/09
Third Division/League One – 1923/24, 1988/89, 2013/14
Fourth Division – 1987/88
FA Cup – 1893, 1908, 1949, 1960

Last season
League finish:
15th
FA Cup: Fifth Round, lost to Chelsea
EFL Cup: Third Round, lost to Newcastle
Top scorer: Helder Costa, 12 goals
Average attendance: 21,570

HOW DID THEY GET HERE?

The 2016/17 campaign was the club’s third consecutive season in the Sky Bet Championship and there were high expectations around Molineux following on from the new ownership of the Chinese investment group Fosun.

However, having initially confirmed the position of Kenny Jackett, the head coach was relieved of his duties and replaced by Walter Zenga prior to the season opener, who went on to last just 14 games.

The experienced Paul Lambert then took the reigns in the Black Country and despite having the support of the fans and leading his team to two victories at Premier League opposition in the FA Cup, the club finished the campaign one place lower than the previous season – although with an identical points tally of 58 – and Lambert was dismissed in May.

With Nuno Espirito Santo now at the helm, Wolves recruited heavily throughout the summer, spending just shy of £20m.

The new-look side flew out the traps this term, winning their opening three games and continue to look a real threat. Having beaten Millwall on Saturday, spirits will be high going into tonight’s encounter.

NUNO ESPIRITO SANTO IS THE CLUB'S FOURTH BOSS IN TEN MONTHS

MEET THE GAFFER: NUNO ESPIRITO SANTO

Born on the African island of Sao Tome and Principe, Nuno played for Vitoria Guimaraes, Sport Clube Vila Real, Deportivo La Coruna, Merida, Osasuna, Porto, where he played under Jose Mourinho, Dynamo Moscow and Clube Desportivo das Aves in an 18-year playing career.

In management, Wolves becomes Nuno’s fourth club.

He began with Rio Ave in Portugal's top division, before 16 months in Spain at Valencia, who he took to fourth in La Liga, before leaving the following November, when he was succeeded by Gary Neville.

Nuno was appointed Porto head coach in June 2016 on a two-year deal, but he left in May having led his team to second in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, six points behind champions Benfica.

Porto also reached the last 16 of the Champions League, losing 3-0 on aggregate to eventual finalists Juventus.

Nuno, 43, is the seventh man to take charge of Wolves since February 2012 and the fourth boss in 10 months under Chinese owners Fosun.

The boss has led Wolves to third in the table during his first six league games in charge of the club, resulting in him being shortlisted for August’s Manager of the Month Award.

NEVES SIGNED FROM PORTO IN THE SUMMER FOR A CHAMPIONSHIP RECORD FEE

STAR MAN: RUBEN NEVES

For a 20-year-old, Ruben Neves has broken a number of records.

He finished coolly on his debut as a 17-year-old to become Porto’s youngest league scorer, he surpassed Cristiano Ronaldo as the youngest Portuguese player to appear in the Champions League and at 18, he became the youngest captain in the history of the same competition.

When the winger signed for Wolves, he broke another record in becoming the club and league’s record transfer – a fee thought to be £15.8m.

Since arriving in the Midlands, Neves has become an instant favourite at Molineux. His pace, trickery and distribution excites the supporters and his natural ability and his eagerness for success will play a crucial part in Wolves’ season.

He is certainly a player City must be mindful of tonight.

LEE JOHNSON IN ACTION AT MOLINEUX IN 2007/08

MEMORABLE MEETING: 2007/08

WOLVES 1-1 BRISTOL CITY

City’s visit to Molineux in 2007 will always be remembered as the day Liam Fontaine broke his duck – and landed Gary Johnson in trouble.

The City boss had challenged Fontaine to score by claiming he would bare his backside in Burton’s window if he did, such was his confidence that the defender would never find the net.

City trailed to Jay Bothroyd’s early strike, driving home through a crowd of bodies after the visitors only half-cleared a corner.

Up stepped Fontaine before half-time, rising unchallenged in the box to send Michael McIndoe’s free kick back across the keeper and inside the far post with a pinpoint header.

Johnson later claimed he wouldn’t have to go through with his forfeit because Fontaine’s goal had only secured a point rather than a win, but Soccer AM didn’t let him off.

A week later they brought a giant target to the club’s training ground for Fontaine to take aim at his gaffer’s rear.

The defender – now playing at Hibernian – had three attempts, and missed all three!

Wolves: Hennessey, Foley, Darren Ward, Craddock, Neill Collins, Kightly (Potter 81), Olofinjana, Henry, Stephen Ward (Eastwood 84), Keogh, Bothroyd (Jarvis 69).
Subs Not Used: Stack, Little.

Bristol City: Basso, McAllister, Carey, Fontaine, Orr, Sproule (Murray 69), Elliott, Johnson, McIndoe, Trundle (McCombe 88), Byfield (Noble 77).
Subs Not Used: Henderson, Skuse.

Attendance: 26,094

Gary Johnson and Liam Fontaine with the Soccer AM target

AND FINALLY…

Officials
Referee: Stephen Martin
Assistant Referees: Mark Jones and Matthew McGrath
Fourth Official: Graham Salisbury

Betting (via Sky Bet)
Wolves – 4/5
Draw – 13/5
Bristol City – 7/2