Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo is bracing for a “nightmare” festive period as his side prepare to resume their Premier League campaign against Southampton on Monday night.
Nuno believes his squad will be stretched to its limit over the next few months as the hectic schedule continues amid the continuing backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic.
Wolves host Tottenham on Boxing Day and travel to Manchester United two days later and Nuno insisted: “Moaning is a waste of time but it doesn’t take away from how hard it is for the players – it’s something we have to deal with because different people are making the decisions.
“We are all dealing with the same situation. What is in front of us is a nightmare in terms of the schedule – Christmas and Boxing Day and all these things will be very tough for everybody, especially the players.”
Wolves head into the game against the in-form Saints looking to bounce back from their 1-0 defeat at Leicester a fortnight ago.
Nuno has had minimal time to run the rule over his returning international players but Leander Dendoncker is likely to be fit after shrugging off the knee injury he sustained on international duty with Belgium.
Dendoncker has proved an impressive figure in a deeper role for Wolves this year and is one of the reasons why keeper Rui Patricio is one of four goalkeepers to currently boast a Premier League-leading four clean sheets to his name.
Dendoncker told Wolves’ official website: “It’s something we’ve been training on the last few years – always trying to be well organised and play from there.
“When you don’t concede, you can’t lose, so we always try to be well organised first and to attack from there.
“We’ve held four clean sheets this season, which is really good, and I hope there will be a lot more to come. That will demand a lot of effort from outside and I think we are ready to commit to that.”
Captain Conor Coady, an ever-present since Wolves’ return to the top flight in 2018, is a major doubt after he was forced to withdraw from the England squad and self-isolate due to coronavirus protocols.