Skipper Karl Henry today acknowledged he could have “no complaints” about being dropped from the Wolves team – and vowed to return refreshed after the break from fixtures to try and force his way back into the side.
Henry was an unused substitute for last weekend’s vital win over Bristol City, but his attitude in losing his place and the support he still gave to the team has been hailed for its professionalism by boss Dean Saunders.
Now the Wolverhampton-born midfielder has admitted he has suffered from a loss of form, but has set his sights on winning his place back and making a contribution over the final eight games of the season.
“Obviously I was disappointed to be dropped,” said Henry.
“But at the same time I don’t think I have played well since Christmas.
“I have had maybe two decent games so I can have no complaints.
“I am disappointed in myself for my own performances.
“I now have to work hard and try and get back in the team.
“It has been a difficult season for us and this is a massive time where we all want to be playing and doing our bit.
“We are in this situation because too many of us have not performed.
“There are no excuses – too many of us just haven’t played well enough this season and that is why we are where we are.”
As skipper, Henry has regularly been the public face of a difficult campaign called on for more media duties than his team-mates and having to ‘front up’ after disappointing performances.
And while the manager praised him for his response to last weekend’s axe, which included getting on the pitch to congratulate the players at full time, Henry insists every one of his team-mates would have behaved in exactly the same way.
“I think everybody does that,” says the midfielder.
“I don’t think there is a player in the squad that doesn’t do that and doesn’t support the team even when they are not playing.
“Team spirit is good here.
“It might be something if I could say team spirit has been shocking and is the reason we are in this position but it isn’t.
“It is down to poor form, nothing else, and big players for this club have not performed this season which is why we are where we are.
“The manager is good, training has been good, we can have no excuses.
“We have just been stuck in a rut with a group of players who have been on the back of defeats for a long time and we just haven’t been able to get out of it and get ourselves going.
“We have just got to do whatever it takes now to keep us in this league and then draw a line under this season and write it off.”
Henry is a big fan of the man who replaced him in Saturday’s game – David Davis – and was impressed with how he responded to the first half setback which saw his backpass turn into an unfortunate own goal.
And he highlighted the overall reaction of the team as crucial to bring about a victory which will hopefully boost confidence levels for the many battles ahead.
“David Davis is a good player and a great lad and I think he is going to have a big career here and in football,” says Henry.
“He did well and responded really well to the own goal which was unfortunate and indicative of what has happened to us this season.
“But he recovered from that and went on to have a good performance and we managed to win the game.
“Dave is a good player who did well and will go a long way.”
Henry continues: “It was a huge result for us against Bristol City.
“At one stage the way things were going we were going to be bottom of the league and four points adrift had we lost.
“Even now with a win we are in a difficult position and we’ve got a lot of work to do to get ourselves out of it.
“Relegation is unthinkable but we know why we are here and we will work hard to make sure we do something about it and stay in this league.
“We need to grind out results now, performances don’t matter.
“I don’t think anyone cares whether we play pretty football or not, it’s about getting results and whoever is playing will need to do that to make sure we stay up.”
And in the middle of a two-week break from fixtures due to internationals, Henry is ready to come back with fresh vigour for the final five weeks of the season.
“I think this little break will do me good,” he explains.
“The Championship can be relentless and it probably feels more so when you come down from the Premier League and have so many Saturday-Tuesdays- Saturday- Tuesdays.
“It is tough to adapt to again.
“I think a two-week will do me a bit of good and the other players as well.
“We can get refreshed, come back in for the last eight games and kick on to do what we need to do to stay up.”