Stephen Hunt is hoping surgery next week will solve his long-standing injury problem which has affected his performance – admitting boss Ståle Solbakken probably thinks he is “bang average” at the moment.
The Republic of Ireland winger has been struggling to hit peak fitness since groin and hip problems first surfaced towards the beginning of this year, far cry from the form shown in helping Wolves avoid relegation at the end of the 2010/11 season.
He is now to undergo a hip operation aimed at freeing up his movement, and is targeting a New Year return to rediscover his form and show the manager what he can do.
“I had the operation to try and solve the problem having groin surgery in March,” says Hunt.
“That was where I thought I had a weak point having had an operation there before.
“But it’s not quite worked out and what I’m going to have done now is linked in to all the symptoms.
“It has to be done really.
“I could easily not have the operation and maybe carry on playing for four or five years and not perhaps do myself full justice.
“I’d played during pre-season and when I got chances but maybe I was trying to con myself to a certain degree there was nothing wrong.
“I look after myself on and off the pitch and want to get myself completely right to play at my best for the next four or five years.
“I could have carried on but would be playing through pain and probably playing badly.
“It’s in my hip and what the surgeon has said is that I need to have some bone shaved off so my hip can rotate a bit more and I’m not restricted in my movement.”
The 31-year-old admits that trying to play through what has been a niggling injury more than an overly painful one has proved his undoing, with his form suffering as a result.
And after some open and constructive discussions with the manager, he admits it is something of a relief to have a new plan of action in place.
“I’m not in that much pain with it and that it feels too sore to play but it is just there,” he says.
“And there’s the feeling knowing I can’t drop my shoulder and go or react quickly and readjust to a misplaced pass like I could do – I haven’t got the confidence to kick off from a standing start.
“It’s been seven months of trying to squeeze everything in and a combination of that and the Euros has made things difficult for now.
“It’s almost something of a relief that I can get something done and hopefully crack on.
“If the truth be known the manager probably thinks I am bang average from what he has seen so far.
“I have tried to remind him that it hasn’t always been like that!
“We’ve been both been honest with each other and have a good relationship on that score.
“When I’m around the place working on my rehabilitation I’m going to be supportive and willing the team on to do well.
“Once I’m pain-free again my enthusiasm to get back training will be enormous.
“It will be nice to have a little break now mentally and physically for a few weeks and switch off but after that I will be right back to work and looking to get back.”
Hunt’s performances at the back end of that 2010/11 campaign helped spur Wolves on to safety, in particular a Man of the Match display in the victory over West Bromwich Albion and scoring THAT goal on the final day against Blackburn.
That may well prove something of an inspiration as he heads out on the recovery trail after next week’s operation.
“I think over the last two years the win against West Brom and the goal against Blackburn were big moments for us and for me to have played a role in them was important,” he says.
“I know what I can do – I know when I’m playing well and when I’m playing badly.
“That will never change and I still have that belief about what I can do and that is going to help me over the next two or three months.”