Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo says his side won’t take Northern Ireland’s Crusaders lightly when they meet in Europa League qualifying on Thursday (Wolves -3 4/7 – Handicap +3 Match Betting).
The Molineux club entertain the Irish Cup champions in the first leg and Nuno is looking forward to the chance of guiding Wolves into the group stages, but he is aware they cannot afford to underestimate their qualifying opponents if they are to secure a place in the tournament proper.
If Wolves beat Crusaders, they will take on either the Czech Republic’s Jablonec or FC Pyunik in the next round but for now Nuno’s full focus is on their Europa League qualifying second round task.
Thursday’s fixture is Wolves’ first European fixture in nearly 40 years and Nuno hopes his players rise to the occasion.
“Of course (we will respect Crusaders),” he said.
“No matter who you play against it’s about how you prepare yourself to compete. It’s a big, big game for the club. It’s up to us to make something special so people are proud of us.”
The hosts are likely to be without striker Raul Jimenez and midfielder Romain Saiss as they only returned from international duty with Mexico and Morocco respectively earlier this week.
Matt Doherty misses out with a knee injury but the likes of Diogo Jota, captain Conor Coady and Ruben Neves are expected to start.
Jota is 9/4 to score the first goal and Neves is 6/1 to open the scoring, while Wolves are 25/1 to go all the way and win the Europa League outright.