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Boss On Burnley


11:30 26th April 2013

Saunders wants players to rise to the occasion

Wolves manager Dean Saunders is counting on his players to stand up and be counted as they look ahead to tomorrow's vital encounter with Burnley (3pm).

Last week's cruel last-gasp defeat at Charlton Athletic has left Wolves in the nPower Championship's relegation zone ahead of the final two rounds of fixtures.

However Saunders - no stranger to pressure situations after a playing career spent almost entirely at the top level - believes that the highly-charged atmosphere of the season's final weeks should bring out the best from his players.

"I don't think I need to say much to them now," Saunders told the media ahead of tomorrow's game. "It's a difficult situation, but they all realise the consequences for both the club and their own careers.

"The big players now have to stand up - there are certain occasions in your career that you look back on and think 'we really needed a win that day', and this is one of those.

"Everybody's got to turn up, we can't have anyone leaving anything in the dressing room and we've got to put a performance in.

"We've got to the point now where we're level on points with two teams with two games left, and if we win those two games, I don't think we'll have a problem."

The manager believes that his side were hard done by at The Valley last weekend, and is hopeful that Wolves not only rise to the occasion, but also get the rub of the green in what will be a vital last home match of the campaign.

"I thought we were the better team against Charlton - we were solid and they didn't have a chance, then we concede a Sunday morning goal like their first one, a scuffed corner into the near post, and we go 1-0 down.

"We've managed to get back in the game straight away and I thought at 1-1 we'd go on and win, then they've got one in the last minute when the ball has deflected off Jack's face and straight into their lad's path.

"Hopefully, in these last two games we'll get the bounce of the ball and we'll get the decisions."

He added: "The pressure that the players are under is normal if you're at a big club - it's just that now we are facing it at the other end of the table. There are all sorts of other issues when you're down there."

One of the problems facing Saunders' side in recent weeks has been the lack of goals - Wolves have scored just three goals in four games since top scorer Sylvan Ebanks-Blake joined nine-goal Bakary Sako on the injury list.

However, the boss confirmed this week that Sako is back in contention for the weekend, and called on the rest of the squad to add to the Wolves goal threat.

"Kevin Doyle's stepped up to the mark, but now they've all got to do that and try and get us a goal," he said. "Wardy got one against Huddersfield and Karl Henry has hit the woodwork at Charlton - but you look at the top teams, and they all have ten or eleven players that can chip in with a goal.

"We've got Hunty, Ward, Karl and Tongo Doumbia, and then the two centre-backs have to chip in as well. We've lost Dave Davis - who set up the three goals against Birmingham - and Jamie O'Hara as well, so we've got to find different ways to win.

"That's where the other players have got to step up and get us a goal - I'd gladly take a 1-0 win at the weekend."

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