Wolverhampton Wanderers and Preston North End head into their EFL Cup second-round tie on Tuesday evening having endured mixed starts to the season.
The home side are without a win in three Premier League matches, while Preston, albeit unbeaten, have collected just seven points from five games in the Championship.
Bruno Lage has switched to a back four this season in an attempt to improve Wolves’ fortunes in the final third, and his side certainly look easier on the eye than they did when operating with a back three.
However, Wolves have now gone nearly three top-flight fixtures without finding the back of the net, their latest setback coming on Saturday as they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at Tottenham Hotspur.
The West Midlands outfit, who handed first starts to Matheus Nunes and Goncalo Guedes, looked a classy outfit during the opening 45 minutes, but they had little answer to Spurs’ improvement after the break.
While Lage has made no secret of the fact that he wants to sign another striker, his current crop need to step up in the final third having shown a lack of composure in North London.
At a time when Wolves sit in 17th position in the top flight, Preston are ninth in the Championship after putting together a bizarre set of results.
Ryan Lowe has witnessed his side post four goalless draws in five matches, the most recent stalemate coming at home to Watford at the weekend.
Preston’s only goal in the second tier remains Brad Potts’s wonder strike at Luton Town, but Preston are yet to concede a goal in five Championship games this campaign.
They ran riot against a Huddersfield Town side in transition in the previous round of this competition, posting a 4-1 victory at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Although Wolves are on a four-match unbeaten streak in this fixture, Preston will fancy their chances of causing an upset with Wolves without a competitive win since they beat Aston Villa on April 2.
Wolverhampton Wanderers form (all competitions):
Preston North End EFL Cup form:
Preston North End form (all competitions):
We say: Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-1 Preston North End
With Wolves expected to make widespread changes, Preston will fancy their chances of inflicting a defeat on their more illustrious hosts. Although the home side should dictate the play, we are backing the visitors to claim a narrow win, taking advantage of Wolves’ lack of ruthlessness.