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Emergency Ward


09:30 19th April 2013

Stephen pleased to play his part

Stephen Ward says he is happy to play anywhere on the pitch as he bids to help towards Wolves' survival push, and has also revealed that he had a pain-killing injection before taking to the field against Hull in midweek.

Such is the magnitude of Wolves' injury crisis, former striker turned left-back Ward has been deployed on the left of midfield for the last two games - scoring in the defeat to Huddersfield before helping his side to an invaluable win over the Tigers on Tuesday.

Now, as the squad prepare to travel south for tomorrow's clash with Charlton, Ward says he is desperate to play his part in the final three games, despite suffering with his rib injury.

Of the knock, which he picked up against Huddersfield, he says: "It's not too bad, it's just sore after Tuesday night but I've had it scanned and it's one of those situations where I can't really do much more damage, so it's just a case of managing the pain.

"It's not bad enough to keep me out - I don't want to make out it's worse than it is. It is sore but there are ways to deal with that - I had a jab before the game the other night which numbed the pain a little bit."

After playing at left-back for much of the season, Ward has found his opportunities limited since the emergence of Matt Doherty and the on-loan Jack Robinson in the full back positions in recent weeks.

However, after his successful cameo on the left of midfield, the Irishman says he is delighted to be involved as Wolves continue to scrap to retain their Championship status.

"At this stage of the season, it's just nice to be out there contributing to us getting some good results and hopefully staying in the league," he explains.

"It was obviously nice to get a goal on Saturday although the result was very disappointing, but we then we showed great character, spirit and fight for the cause to come back on Tuesday night and overcome Hull, who are one of the league's real form teams.

"They're a strong side, they're solid and they've won a lot of games away from home, so it was pleasing to win and really pleasing that we managed to dig out a 1-0, which we just haven't done enough this season. Keeping a clean sheet was very pleasing."

It wasn't just the victory that Ward was able to celebrate on Tuesday evening though - the Hull match saw him named in the starting line-up for the 200th time in his Wolves career.

Reflecting on that milestone, he says: "To start as many games as that for such a big club is a great achievement. When I came over from Ireland, if someone had told me I'd play this many games I wouldn't have believed them.

"In this day and age, footballers don't tend to last too long, so it's a real honour to get to that milestone and it was especially pleasing to mark it with such a vital win."

Ward's six-year stay at Molineux included the promotion season of 2008/2009, during which Wolves won at tomorrow's opponents Charlton, and Ward will travel to The Valley with plenty of good memories.

"It's always nice to go to grounds where you've got results in the past, and The Valley is obviously somewhere we've won on the last two occasions we've been there," he says.

"The 3-1 win in the promotion season was a good victory for us - it came during an unbeaten run of about eight or nine games I think, and we went there and won quite comfortably."

The season before that also saw a memorable fixture at The Valley - when Sylvan Ebanks-Blake's wondergoal and Karl Henry's dramatic last gasp winner earned Wolves all three points as they hunted down a play-off spot.

Ward was injured that day, but still has fond memories of the game, as he explains: "Me and Michael Kightly were injured, so we watched that match on the TV.

"It was a fantastic game and to be honest, I still don't think I've heard Karl Henry stop talking about that goal he scored in the last few minutes! That was a big win as well because we were chasing the play-offs that season.

"So it is nice to go to places that you've got good memories of, but having said that, we know it'll be a very tough game this time around. They're on a great run at the minute, they're scoring goals from all angles.

"We'll have to prepare right - there are a lot of tired legs after Tuesday night, but it's been proved in this league in recent weeks that you can go and get a result anywhere and if we can do so, we'll be one step closer to stopping in the league."

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