Leeds United-Wolverhampton Preview
Javi Gracia expects a demanding game when Leeds United travel to Molineux to face Wolves in a fixture with potentially huge ramifications at the bottom of the Premier League table.
While Leeds claimed a creditable 1-1 draw with Brighton and Hove Albion last time out, the results of those around them meant they slipped to 19th in the table - one point adrift of safety.
Perched four points above them are Wolves - themselves looking over their shoulders after a narrow defeat at Newcastle United - and Gracia is aware of the importance of Saturday's game.
"In all my experience playing against Wolves, they always were really, really demanding games," Gracia said.
"I think this time will not be different, it will be the same. In my opinion they are playing well, it's a well-organised team with good players.
"We know how important the game is, and thinking this way, we were preparing all the training sessions, trying to analyse the best way to attack, the best way to defend, the best way to prepare the games."
Wolves boss Julen Lopetegui echoed his fellow Spaniard's thoughts, saying: "The match has the same importance for Leeds and for us. For both of us.
"Each match is going to be very important and each match is a chance to achieve three points.
"They have a very good squad, very good players and a very experienced coach, not just in Spain but in England, he has worked here. We expect a tough match and we have to be ready.
"There are a lot of good teams fighting for the same aim, so we have to be ready if we want to be able to continue in this race with the best mentality and with the best way to play in all the phases of the game."
Wolves - Ruben Neves
Wolves have had just three players score more than once in the Premier League this season - Neves, Daniel Podence (both five) and Adama Traore (two). No team has had fewer players score multiple goals so far this term. With the relegation battle hotting up, the hosts may need Neves - who is always a threat from set-pieces and long-range - to drag them to victory.
Leeds United - Patrick Bamford
Bamford scored his second Premier League goal of the season - and his first as a starter - against Brighton last time out. The striker last scored in consecutive Premier League appearances in May 2021, but if Leeds are to have a chance in their fight for survival, they need him to hit form.
Following their 2-1 win over Wolves on the opening weekend of the season, Leeds are looking to complete their first league double against the Midlands outfit since 2015-16, and their first in the top flight since 1973-74.
Leeds have earned four points from their three Premier League games under Gracia (W1 D1 L1), as many as they had in their 10 games before his arrival (W0 D4 L6). However, they are winless in their last seven away from home (D2 L5).
Wolves, meanwhile, have won three of their last four home league games (L1), more than they had in their previous 12 (W2 D3 L7). However, they are winless in their last 10 league games in which they have conceded at Molineux (D2 L8).
Wolves 39.3 per cent
Leeds United31.3 per cent
Draw 29.4 per cent
Updated March 17, 2023