Richard Stearman insists he will continue to fight for his Wolves place and prove he could have a Molineux future after returning to the side for Monday’s impressive win at Leeds.
Stearman was recalled for his first action in almost two months at Elland Road, but rose to the task alongside Mike Williamson as Wolves withstood a second half barrage to emerge with a 1-0 win which secured Sky Bet Championship status.
It was Stearman’s 17th appearance of his season-long loan from Fulham which saw him return to the club 12 months after having left following seven years at Molineux.
“It was a big win and an important three points against Leeds,” he said.
“The gaffer had made the point and we had spoken in the dressing room before the game that we weren’t mathematically safe.
“We still needed a win to get us over the line and that is what we did.
“There is also personal pride that whenever you step out there you want to win the game.
“The lads had put together such a great run but then we were miles off it against Bristol City and came up against a Brighton team who are top of the table and have now been promoted.
“It was vital for us to play better, and to win, and that is what we did against Leeds.
“The gaffer set us up perfectly and gave us a great base to perform and from there we got the goal.
“The second half was a bit more ugly but we managed to get over the line.
“I was in the wars a bit for the last ten or 15 minutes but that is the way I play – I will always stick my head in where it hurts.
“Fortunately we all made sure nothing went into the back of our net.
“Throughout the team the desire to get the win was immense, from the players who started and those who came off the bench.
“We all pulled together to do what we could to keep the ball out of the net and hang on to the goal that we had.
“Lonners (Andy Lonergan) pulled off a couple of saves as well and it was a perfect defensive performance.”
The experienced 29-year-old has had to be patient in waiting for his opportunity, but givne the recent run of five successive victories, admits he could have no complaints.
“The boys have been doing very well and I haven’t been able to get in the side,” he added.
“I knew I had to train hard, keep myself right and prepare properly and hope that I might get another chance before the season was out.
“That happened against Leeds and I was delighted to get back in.
“I think everyone knows that regardless of whether I am starting, on the bench, or in the stand, I will always give my all for the badge and for this club.
“It gave me an opportunity at Leeds to stick the shirt on again which was a great feeling and thankfully we won.”
The three points at Elland Road ensured Wolves preserved Championship status after a rollercoaster of a season which has seen plenty of change.
Did Stearman ever fear a second drop to League One in the space of five seasons?
“Yes and no,” he replied.
“Obviously if we had continued not to pick up points then we would have found ourselves in real trouble at the wrong end of the table.
“But to me, it didn’t feel like a few years ago when the team did go down.
“I always felt we had too much within this dressing room both in ability and personality, and the manager, to see us through.
“And that is what resulted.”
Stearman’s two spells at Wolves have seen him make 251 appearances in all competitions, putting him at 43rd in the overall Wolves appearance list, a record of which he is justifiably proud.
He appears keen to try and challenge the 300 mark reached by Dave Edwards at Leeds on Monday, and knows he must impress over the final weeks to earn that chance with his loan from Fulham running out at the end of the season.
“Reaching 300 appearances for Wolves is an incredible achievement and you have to take your hat off to Eddo and congratulate him,” says Stearman.
“He might not be the most popular player from the stands but to make 300 appearances is fantastic.
“Inside the dressing room we value his input so much, it is vital.
“Every manager who has been here has constantly played him and that is credit to the work he does, both on and off the ball.
“He might not do eight stepovers and stick one in the top corner but his work is invaluable to what the team do.
“There are different parts to the puzzle of what makes a football team and Eddo is a vital cog to the way that we play.
“He has maintained his standards and that is why he stays in the team.
“For me to get near thatwould be great and I am playing now to try and extend my stay at Wolves.
“It has almost become like a trial period for me now.
“I have got to prove myself every day in training and if I get a chance, make sure I take it and show I deserve a place at this club.
“I have done it 250-odd times already and I want to continue to add to that.
“All I can do is play with my heart on my sleeve, play well, and do the most that I can to try and get a new deal – we will see.”