Wolverhampton Wanderers will head to St. Andrew’s Stadium on Monday night where they will take on Birmingham City in their second Midlands derby of the season and will be without Ruben Neves for the tie.

The star midfielder has been one of their standout players this campaign, having arrived in the summer, and Nuno Espirito Santo believes his players are ready to step up in his absence, as he serves a one-match suspension.

Neves received his fifth yellow card of the season during Wolves’ 5-1 victory over Bolton Wanderers, whilst his head coach has accepted an improper conduct charge from the FA after he was sent from the touchline in the same game.

The Portuguese boss has stated that his squad understand the importance of the derby, as they look to get their sixth Championship win in a row and try to pull away from Cardiff City in the table.

“Of course the players understand,” the Wolves trainer told the club’s official website.

“They go to the supermarket, they go to the grocery (store), and the people that work there say ‘come on, Wolves ay we.’”

Nuno confirmed that Neves would not be the only Wolves player to be missing from the clash with the Blues, as Phil Ofosu-Ayeh remains on the sidelines.

The Ghana international is yet to make his debut for the Molineux outfit, having signed from Frankfurt in the summer, due to an ankle injury.

The Wolves defender needed to have an operation on the problem and is expected to be out until at least January, with Santo acknowledging that the club needs to be patient.

“The programme that is being done with Phil is trying to increase his load of running,” Nuno added.

“But he still has pain.

“We have to be very cautious, not only because of this particular injury but the way that Phil – for the last year – has struggled.

“He needs to settle down and solve, definitely, the problems that he has.”


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