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Strength In Depth

PUBLISHED

11:30 8th March 2013

Boss keen to make the most of squad strength

Dean Saunders says he is still trying to find the 'right formula' among his squad as he fights to keep Wolves in the nPower Championship.
The Welshman enjoyed his first victory as Wolves boss in midweek at Millwall, and although he acknowledges he is closer to knowing his strongest eleven, he is keen to utilise to strength in depth in his squad as the season enters its final weeks.
Saunders made four changes for the trip to The Den, including changing his front two and leaving out Bjorn Sigurdarson, which the boss says was to protect the in-form Icelandic striker after statistics revealed the work he had got through during the previous fixtures.
"I think this time of year is always difficult for the players," he says. "They get mentally and physically jaded so I made some changes.
"We're bang up to date with the sports science - the records from the past three games show that Bjorn did more running during all of those games than anyone else on the pitch, so I rested him at Millwall before he got injured."
Despite Ebanks-Blake and strike partner Jake Cassidy impressing at in midweek, Saunders insists that Sigurdarson will still have a big part to play in the remaining ten fixtures.
"I thought Jake and Sylvan would have too much energy for the Millwall defence, and so it proved. But Bjorn's doing well - he's got all the tools to be a top player.
"He's quick, he's strong, he's good in the air and he can shoot with both feet. Right now I need to educate him a bit tactically - and he's getting better - but once he gets all those attributes together he'll be a good player," he adds.
"You're always looking for the right formula to be able to turn draws and defeats into wins - there are still areas of the team that aren't functioning quite how I'd want them to function, but I've still only been here for ten games, I'm still learning about the players."
Another player recalled in midweek was midfielder Dave Edwards, whose well-taken first half goal set Wolves on their way to victory.
Saunders worked alongside Welsh international Edwards during his time as John Toshack's assistant manager, and is keen to see the former Luton man play an influential role in the battle for survival. 
"Edwards has an eye for goal - I've worked with him at Wales and I've seen him score goals like the one he got on Tuesday," he says.
"He's a good professional, a great lad and he just gets on with it when he's not playing. He covers so much ground and he's a team player - if you ask him to do a job he does it.
"Sometimes supporters would prefer an out-and-out right winger that can beat people on the touchline, but you have to make the team function properly. Edwards picked up more second balls than anyone else at Millwall.
"He's one of those players who can play anywhere and he won't let you down."
Stephen Ward also regained his place in the starting line-up in place of Jack Robinson, but Saunders confirmed that a 'horses for courses' approach will see the likes of Robinson and Stephen Hunt recalled as the manager attempts to utilise the strength and size of his squad.
"Jack Robinson had played quite a few games in a short space of time, whereas Wardy was fresh," he explains. "Sometimes when you've been out for a long time, you get through the first game but the second really catches up with you, so I thought Hunt might hit the wall on Tuesday night."
He continues: "He's one of those lads who's naturally fit though, and another one that will give you everything. Those players go under the radar, but as a manager, you want as many players like that as you can get."

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