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Preview: Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Blackpool

Sports Mole looks ahead to Saturday's Championship match between in-form Wolves and bottom-of-the-table Blackpool at Molineux.

Wolverhampton Wanderers will pay tribute to legendary former owner and club president Sir Jack Hayward before kickoff in their Championship clash with Blackpool on Saturday.

It is sure to be an emotional occasion for the home side following the 91-year-old's death earlier this week, and the players on the field will be hopeful of providing a fitting tribute to the man.

Hayward certainly would have enjoyed the excitement of Wolves' 3-3 draw on the day he passed away, although the end outcome was not a good one for the club as Fulham progressed to the fourth round of the FA Cup on penalties.

They can now turn their full attention to league duties, however, and their recent good form in the Championship has seen them close the gap on the playoffs to just one point.

Following a spell of five league defeats in a row Wolves are now unbeaten in five, during which time they have won four games, including their last three.

Dave Edwards, who looked to have secured the win in midweek with a brace off the bench, got the only goal of the game in Wolves' last league outing as they edged to a 1-0 victory over Blackburn Rovers.

That also handed them a third clean sheet in their last five games - a vast improvement from when they were leaking goals for fun throughout November.

Wolves will need the likes of Edwards to continue weighing in with goals while Bakary Sako is away at the Africa Cup of Nations, although Kenny Jackett has looked to ease the goalscoring burden with the signature of Benik Afobe.

Kevin Doyle has also returned to the club, but both strikers may have to start on the bench behind Nouha Dicko this weekend.

While Wolves have the playoffs in their sights, Blackpool could have breathed new life into their survival hopes with a vital victory over fellow strugglers Millwall last weekend.

Peter Clarke's goal was enough to end a five-match winless streak and give the Tangerines maximum points for just the third time all season.

There is still a long way to go for Lee Clark, however, with eight points separating them from the unlikely goal of safety.

The key to cutting that gap down could lie in improving their away form. Blackpool are one of just two teams from the 92 league clubs in England yet to pick up a victory on the road this season - Queens Park Rangers being the other.

They have amassed a meagre five points from a possible 36 on their travels, although it should also be noted that they have the worst home record in the league too.

As if matters on the pitch were not troublesome enough, chairman Karl Oyston continues to court controversy and has now been asked by the FA to explain his part in the text furore.

Oyston has also reportedly intervened when it comes to team selection too, and Clark faces a weekly slog in picking his starting XI with players coming and going with regularity now.


Form in Championship: LWDWWW
Form in all competitions: DWWDWL

Possible starting lineup: Ikeme; Doherty, Batth, Stearman, Iorfa; Price, McDonald, Henry, Edwards, van la Parra; Dicko


Form in Championship: WDLLDW
Form in all competitions: DLLDLW

Possible starting lineup: Lewis; Dunne, Clarke, Nosworthy, Kennedy; Perkins, McMahon, O'Hara, Orlandi; Davies; Delfouneso

Sports Mole says: 2-0

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David Edwards of Wolves celebrates with team-mates after scoring his team's first goal during the FA Cup third round replay match against Fulham on January 13, 2015
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Result: Fulham through via penalties

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