Monday 11 December 2017

Green day stirs Ward

Wolves man relishing Irish factor in clash with Baggies

WOLVES full-back Stephen Ward is relishing an Irish reunion this weekend in the Black Country derby against West Bromwich Albion.

The Dubliner is intrigued by the prospect of lining up against international team-mate Keith Andrews, who could make his Albion debut on Sunday following his deadline-day move to the Hawthorns.

Andrews was an unused substitute in the Baggies' 2-1 home loss to Swansea last weekend.

"I've known Keith for a long while because we grew up in neighbouring areas in Dublin," he said.

"I also think we're being lined up by Ireland as room mates for next time.

"There should be some good banter before and after the game on Sunday because it is not just us who have so many Irish internationals now.

"They also have Shane Long and Simon Cox, as well as Keith, plus Steven Reid and Dean Kiely, who played a few years ago.

"But the big thing is the game itself on Sunday.

"I love this fixture, the supporters make it very special, and you are always aware of the extra spice in the build-up.

"After Saturday's result, it has been straight back to business because this is another important match."

Kevin Doyle, Wolves' match-winner last weekend, Stephen Hunt and Kevin Foley are also likely to feature.

Victory

In the same fixture last season, Wolves recorded a much-needed 3-1 victory last May which they followed up by defeating Sunderland by the same margin, and Ward is hoping for a similar return this time around.

"We all know how much good it would do us if we could get two wins in a row now as well," Ward added. "The main difference is that we were much closer to the end of the season and there wasn't much room for error. We'd had a bad result at Stoke and the games were running out.

"We were outstanding in the second half at QPR (last Saturday) and were very professional in making the extra man count, which, as we proved at Arsenal, isn't always the easiest thing to do.

"Even at 1-1 when the second goal was a while coming, we didn't panic.

"We kept creating chances and could have scored one or two more.

"QPR would have been six points in front of us if they had won and that would have been quite a gap.

"We obviously have them at our side now, though, after beating them, and if we can do the same to Albion, we will only be two points behind them.

"Being out of the relegation zone has lifted everyone here, although we know it is only one step. We won't be getting carried away on the back of one good result -- it was a long time coming after all.

"It's all about building on it now. We're still in a scrap and it has to be a stepping stone for us.

"Saturday was such a vital win and the derby has to be in the same category -- the more teams we can drag into the battle the better."

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