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Wolves: Matt Doherty fit for FC Pyunik clash

Wolves: Matt Doherty fit for FC Pyunik clash

Wolves have been given a significant boost ahead of their Europa League qualifier against FC Pyunik in Armenia on tonight.

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Tim Nash, editor of Wolvesbite.com, stated on Twitter that Matt Doherty is fully fit and ready to play in Yerevan.

Nash said that the Republic of Ireland international has recovered from the knee injury that has prevented him from taking any part in Wolves’ pre-season programme and Europa League qualifiers thus far.

The Express & Star also reported confirmation from Nuno Espirito Santo that the 27-year-old is available for the first leg of the third round qualifier.

Doherty’s return to action will provide a tremendous lift for Wolves if he can replicate anything like the form he showed last season.

The right-back ended the campaign with an astonishing return of eight goals and 10 assists from 45 matches, an average of 0.18 goals and 0.22 assists per game.

Remarkably, he was the club’s third highest scorer last season, with only Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota being more prolific.

Also, he was Wolves’ leading provider of assists in 2018/19, two ahead of the next most frequent creators Joao Moutinho and Jimenez.

Doherty averaged 0.5 dribbles, 1.2 shots and one key pass per game last season (via WhoScored), all of which hint at a right-back who is highly adept at getting forward. His shots per game ratio was the fifth highest in Wolves’ squad in 2018/19, while his average for key passes was the third highest.

However, he is a hugely dependable defender also, winning 3.8 aerial duels per game (the joint most at Wolves along with Willy Boly) and recording match averages of 1.8 tackles and 1.6 interceptions (fourth highest figure at Wolves).

Doherty’s absence left Nuno without a recognised right-back for the Europa League tie against Crusaders, with right winger Adama Traore deputising in the role for both legs of the tie.

The only other right-back at the club is Phil Ofosu-Ayeh, who is currently injured, was on loan at Hansa Rostock and Wurzburger Kickers last season and has never played a first team game for Wolves.

Doherty’s return to action cannot come soon enough for Nuno, especially with Wolves’ Premier League season starting on Sunday against Leicester amid their European commitments.

It isn’t just that he finally has a natural right-back to call upon – he has one of the most potent defenders in England now fit and ready for action. Only international team-mate Shane Duffy scored more from defence in the Premier League last season with five goals.

Doherty’s return is perfectly timed and, unless his form nosedives alarmingly in the next few months, he seems set for another highly productive season raiding along the right flank for Wolves.

Wolves fans, how big a boost is it to have Doherty back in action? Give us your views in the comments section below!

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Article title: Wolves: Matt Doherty fit for FC Pyunik clash

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