David Davis is delighted to finally see some “smiles on faces” again after Wolves’ encouraging start to the Sky Bet League One season.
And the 22-year-old midfielder is relishing the extra responsibility placed on his own shoulders in the absence of more experienced senior colleagues in the Wolves engine room.
Davis was cut down in his prime towards the end of last season when injured just a game after setting up all three Wolves goals in the victory at Birmingham.
But having spent plenty of time working with the club’s medical team at the Compton training ground over the summer, he has started the season well as the senior professional in midfield alongside Lee Evans.
“There is a good atmosphere around the place and everyone has enjoyed the feeling of winning a couple of games,” he says.
“There are smiles on faces again and that seems to have been missing for a while.
“The spirit around the camp is really good at the minute.
“No one wanted to be relegated, but I’ve not got that personality where I’m going to worry about my own situation and what league we are playing in.
“It is about the team at the end of the day.
“If we’ve got a good group of lads around us then we believe we can be successful.
“I think the squad here is all grounded and we’ve got the same vision and the same drive.
“You can see that from the reaction when we score a goal, how passionate the lads are and how it means everything to us, especially that 85th minute winner at Bristol City!
“We are all appreciating the support we are getting from the fans as well – it’s a great reaction when we’re clapping before the matches and after.
“Despite the disappointments of the past few years they have carried on following us home and away and it’s nice to be able to give them some wins to enjoy.”
That ankle injury sustained at Bolton brought a premature end to Davis’s season just as he had imposed himself at Molineux, 12 months on from a promising initial impact in the Barclays Premier League.
The midfielder admits it was a problem which perhaps lingered on mentally during pre-season, but he has been far more pleased with his performances since the big kick-off at Preston.
“It was very frustrating for me at the end of last season,” says Davis.
“I’d just got back into the team and we’d won three games and were heading to Bolton with some good momentum.
“We’d lost a few big players like Sako, Eddo and Sylv but still felt we’d got momentum.
“Then I got injured early on at Bolton and that was tough to take – to miss the rest of the season because of it.
“I felt with the form I was in and how confident I was feeling I could have added something to the team in those final games.
“I think the season has started quite well considering that injury.
“I did a lot of work over the summer but my performances in pre-season felt a bit slow and personally weren’t up to scratch for myself.
“But it was all about getting up to top fitness and I felt I knew what was going to come from myself and the team when we got started.
“I think it was always going to take a bit of time for me to get back in the swing of things playing during pre-season.
“Even confidence-wise it was about knowing my ankle was right again and now I feel 100 per cent and fit and sharp.
“And I think in the first three league games the lads have shown good character and shown exactly what we are going to be about this year.”
In terms of the experience of the Wolves midfield, Davis has seen Karl Henry depart for QPR, Tongo Doumbia for Valenciennes, Jamie O’Hara made available for transfer and Dave Edwards suffer an early season injury.
That has left him as one of the more experienced midfield players available, certainly prior to the arrival of Kevin McDonald.
That is an additional pressure he welcomes, and one he is keen to embrace again as Wolves try and build on their early season promise with tomorrow night’s visit of Crawley Town (7.45pm).
“It does feel different for me now - but I relish the extra responsibility,” says Davis.
“I prefer people to put added pressure on me because it makes me perform and helps me keep my own personal standards up.
“Now I’ve got to realise that if I’m going to be one of the important players I have got to make sure I am playing well enough to be in the team every week and leading by example.
“Everyone has seen how good Lee Evans has been this season and we’ve got Kevin McDonald here now as well.
“Competition keeps everyone on their toes and it’s up to me to keep my place in the team and if there’s pressure then make sure I rise to it.”
Davis continues: “It’s another tough game against Crawley on Friday night.
“We have to view all the games as ones we can win but we know we’ve got to hit the standards and can never just turn up and think we will take three points.
“The gaffer has been telling us to set out in every match and make sure we keep our standards and do that from the start of games.
“If you don’t start well you might find yourselves behind and in this league it might be tough psychologically to get back into it.
“We need to be mentally tough and treat every game properly and, even if we don’t get an early goal like we did against Gillingham, make sure we keep our focus and get the result that we want.”