Gary O’Neil says facing Coventry in quarter-final is a ‘huge test’ for Wolves

By Sports Desk March 15, 2024

Gary O’Neil is refusing to getting carried away by dreams of FA Cup glory at Wembley, insisting Wolves cannot afford to look any further than their quarter-final date with Coventry.

O’Neil’s side have a big opportunity to book a place in the last four when they take on the lowest-ranked team left in the tournament on Saturday, but nothing is being taken for granted at Molineux.

“None of my attention is on winning it, it’s on beating Coventry tomorrow,” said O’Neil.

“It’s tough (to win a cup), you need a lot to go your way. This will be a huge test and we need to get through it.

“I’m desperate to give the fans more enjoyable moments. We will need the fans to help, especially when you have players missing.”

O’Neil was deliberately coy about exactly which individuals would not be available, eager not to offer the Sky Blues a helping hand in their planning.

“We’ve decided not to do injury updates today, with a big game tomorrow,” he said.

“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.”

Pedro Neto and Jean-Ricner Bellegarde are two obvious concerns having picked up knocks in the 2-1 Premier League victory over Fulham last time out, though there is more encouraging news on Matheus Cunha.

He has been out for more than a month with hamstring trouble but is ahead of schedule with his comeback.

“He’s in a great mood and the lads are really pleased to have him back in training,” said O’Neil.

“It’s an unbelievable effort for him to get back into full training as quickly as he has.

“It’s now on us to manage him the best way we can and get the best out of him. We were expecting to be without him a lot longer than we have been.

“We’re delighted to have him back in training and it’s given the group a real lift.”

Wolves last appeared at this stage in 2018-19, upsetting Manchester United 2-1. Republic of Ireland full-back Matt Doherty is the lone survivor from the XI that defeated the Red Devils and is ready for a different challenge this time.

“I managed to get into a semi-final a few years ago with Wolves, and we should have won, so I really want to get back there this year,” he said.

“Our run hasn’t been filled with ‘huge’ games against United and all the other teams, but that’s the whole point of the cup competitions, you play a variety of teams from different leagues.

“Obviously, we’ll be favourites against Coventry, and we are at home. We’re not going to take anybody lightly, but we’re pretty confident.”

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