Wolves defender Ryan Bennett has said he is still seeking to rediscover full fitness following his recent groin injury.
The 29-year-old was forced off during the 1-1 draw against Southampton in October and missed the subsequent two Premier League games as a result.
Speaking to the Express & Star ahead of Saturday’s trip to Bournemouth, he admitted he is not at 100% yet but he doesn’t think he will need an operation on the injury.
He said: “It happens. Unfortunately, that’s the way it is. I don’t think (an operation is needed). It’s just about trying to find the balance to get back to 100 per cent.”
Bennett has had a stop-start season so far, making just five Premier League starts, four of which came in consecutive games at the start of the campaign. [via TransferMarkt]
That is in stark contrast to 2018/19, when he missed only four league matches all season, having started the other 34. [via TransferMarkt]
His groin injury came at an especially bad time for Wolves, with fellow centre-back regular Willy Boly fracturing his fibula in late October and being ruled out for at least several weeks, as per Birmingham Live.
In their absence, midfielders Leander Dendoncker and Romain Saiss have played at centre-back in recent games, with right-back Matt Doherty also moving to a central defensive role in the 1-1 draw at Newcastle last month.
So far this season, Bennett has won 2.3 aerial duels and 0.6 tackles per game, with a match average of 1.1 interceptions and a 76.5% passing success rate. [via WhoScored]
However, Dendoncker has acquitted himself excellently in an unfamiliar centre-back position of late. The Belgian had a 91.2% passing accuracy and made three interceptions in the draw at Arsenal and then recorded a 92.5% passing success rate in the win over Aston Villa, a match in which he won five aerial duels.
Meanwhile, Saiss has been trusted in a centre-back role for most of the season so far by Nuno Espirito Santo and has won more aerial duels per game (2.6) than Bennett, as well as having a better pass completion rate (78.1%).
As a natural centre-half who was a core member of the defence last season, it would seem logical that Bennett should slot straight back into his usual position once he is fit enough to play.
However, both Dendoncker and Saiss have shown that they are quite capable of performing well at centre-back, which could give Nuno a decision to make on whether to stick with the duo in that role or swap one of them out to make way for Bennett.
Wolves fans, should Bennett come straight back into the defence as soon as he’s fit to feature or should Dendoncker and Saiss continue at centre-back? Join in the discussion by commenting below!Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!