Football

Ward focused on vital derby

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Defender Stephen Ward believes Sunday's Black Country derby is a "must-win game" if Wolves are to have a chance of avoiding relegation.

Mick McCarthy's men have picked up just two points from their last five matches and are 19th in the Barclays Premier League. They take on West Brom this weekend, with the Baggies having climbed into 11th place after a late-season revival masterminded by new manager Roy Hodgson.

Speaking at a charity golf day as part of former Wolves goalkeeper Matt Murray's testimonial year, Ward said: "At this stage of the season, with three games to go, we have to look at every game as a must-win."

He added: "People are saying that Sunday (against Birmingham) was a must-win, but we have to take a point and move on. Because it is so tight a point might keep you in there, but three points would be invaluable and that's what we'll be looking to get."

Despite West Brom's position of safety, Ward is under no illusions about the difficulty of Sunday's task.

 

He said: "I think it's different if you're playing a team that's safe and might have one eye on the summer, but when it's your local rivals they won't want to lose to us. They'll probably want to inflict a bit of pain on our fans and will be taking it just as seriously as we will. They'll want to knock us out of the league."

Two of Wolves' three remaining matches are at Molineux and Ward believes that could be a key factor in securing their survival. "If you look at our home form it's been as good as anyone in the bottom half of the table," he said.

"If we can continue that for the next couple of weeks and take something from our home games, then there's no reason why we won't pick up enough points. This is probably the biggest derby for a while, and it's probably bigger for us than it is for them."

Wolves midfielder Stephen Hunt, who has been relegated from the Premier League with both Reading and Hull, believes his current team are better equipped to beat the drop. "I think we are stronger, but only time will tell," he said. "I only played half a season (due to injury) with Hull, and it's probably worse watching from the sidelines than actually playing.

"At Reading, we fell into the drop zone at the wrong time and couldn't get out of it. I know that you can't be anxious and you've got to try and thrive under pressure. Hopefully, from those experiences, I should be ready for the next three games."

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Stephen Ward
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