Kenny Jackett today challenged his players to keep themselves in tip-top condition as Wolves head into the crucial home run of a marathon Sky Bet League One season.
The off-field ‘prehab’ work carried out by the players under the guidance of the club’s medical and sports science departments has made for a healthy record when it comes to the number of soft tissue injuries, but Jackett insists that must keep going ahead of a heavy fixture schedule particularly in March.
And that means the players continuing to embrace the preparation and conditioning work just the way they have in getting the team into a healthy position with 16 games remaning.
Jackett says: “At all times we work hard to make sure as many people as possible are fit and available.
“It is an obvious thing to say but we are as thorough as possible in terms of reduction of muscle injuries and preparation and making sure every single player has a programme and then takes on their responsibility to be as fit as they possibly can.
“We’ve done well in this respect this season and – touch wood – we can keep that going coming into the last third of the season.
“There are 48 points left to play for and it is a vital period for the club and we want as many players fit and available as possible.
"Fitness is a lifestyle - it’s not about two hours a day, it’s about the other 22 hours when you make sure you implement the right lifestyle in your profession.”
And that is the challenge for the Wolves players to ensure they reach the optimum fitness levels – helped by the staff and facilities - to then allow their talent to shine through.
Jackett continues: “Fitness is the players’ responsibility, not the club.
“The facilities are here and staff are here and both angles are very well supported with an extensive staff and good facilities, to some degree to a Premier League standard.
“But it is the players’ responsibility to maintain his fitness and put to good effect the support structure we have at Wolves, which is considerable.
"If people don’t buy into that over a period of time they are the wrong people for the club.
"We have terrific staff and facilities here and I tell the players it is up to them to make the best you can or yourself, to be the fittest you can be,
"We will drive you and point you in the right direction but it won’t work unless you meet us halfway.
"What I am looking for is people that are self-motivated to continually try to improve and being the fittest you possibly can to do your ability justice and being available and at your best for as many games and days training as possible.
"Contact injuries from collisions on the pitch you can’t do anything about but soft-tissue injuries are down to physical fitness and preparation.
“You can’t eradicate them but you can reduce them over the course of a season.
“It’s the job of the medical and sports science departments at a club to take that on board and for the players to meet them halfway.
“It’s making sure that players know what is expected of them in that area and then holding them accountable.
“You only give them so long, if they don’t buy into it, you need to move them on.”