IT’S BATTH TIME

Wolves’ ever-present de­fender Danny closes in on a Molineux record

The Football League Paper - - INSIDE - By Jamie Holt

IF ANY­ONE needed the in­ter­na­tional break to come around, it was surely Wolves cap­tain Danny Batth – but the ever-present cen­tre­back in­sists he won’t rest un­til his home­town club are back in the Pre­mier League.

The 24-year-old is chas­ing an as­ton­ish­ing con­sec­u­tive ap­pear­ance record hav­ing played ev­ery Cham­pi­onship game so far this sea­son – and ev­ery League One clash last term.

If Batth re­mains in Kenny Jack­ett’s start­ing XI be­tween now and early May, he will be­come the first player in the club’s his­tory to achieve the stunning two-sea­son feat.

The gru­elling na­ture of the 46-game Cham­pi­onship leaves some play­ers gasp­ing for breath. Yet Bri­er­ley Hill-born Batth says he hasn’t spent the past week with his feet up, at least not on the sofa.

“I in­cor­po­rate yoga into my daily rou­tine, it’s im­por­tant you keep fit and in the best shape you can,” said Batth. “This week I’ve had one day off and walked my dogs, but not much changes for me.

“I put all my en­ergy into foot­ball, it’s not ex­actly the weather for golf or fish­ing, and fit­ness is a big part of my life.

“I work ex­tremely hard. I have my own con­di­tioner away from the club as well and, to be hon­est, I don’t feel jaded. I don’t feel the need for a rest. I’m a fit lad, I’m con­sis­tently one of the top three in terms of how far I’ve run in the game, but there’s no let-up.

Goal

“You’ve got to look at the big­ger pic­ture as a pro­fes­sional, you’ve got to eat well and live your life the right way, and we have a great set of staff at the club who help you along. “The record is some­thing that would be great to look back on at some point in the fu­ture, but the goal at the mo­ment is more to get us into the Pre­mier League.”

Wolves are cer­tainly well-placed to have a crack at pro­mo­tion. They are just two points and two places adrift of Ip­swich – and for­mer Molineux boss Mick McCarthy – who oc­cupy sixth.

Batth was just 18 the last time Wolves won pro­mo­tion to the Pre­mier League and he re­mem­bers vividly the cel­e­bra­tions that fol­lowed on the pitch in 2009.

Yet the freefall of the Black Coun­try out­fit fol­low­ing their 2012 rel­e­ga­tion from the topflight iron­i­cally ended up giv­ing the lo­cal lad the chance to shine.

Hav­ing been shipped out on loan to Colch­ester, Sh­effield United and then Sh­effield Wed­nes­day, Batth’s fu­ture ap­peared un­cer­tain.

That was un­til Kenny Jack­ett took charge upon Wolves’ rel­e­ga­tion to League One in 2013 and im­me­di­ately handed him the vice-cap­taincy.

“It would mean a lot to go up, es­pe­cially be­ing from the area,” added Batth. “When we last went up to the Pre­mier League I was in a few of the squads but was in the stands for most of the run-in.

Spe­cial

“When we ac­tu­ally did get pre­sented with the tro­phy I re­mem­ber be­ing on the pitch and touch­ing the tro­phy. It was a mo­ment I’ll never for­get and it was a huge lift for the whole area. As cap­tain now as well, it would be ex­tra spe­cial.”

The last lo­cal Wolves cen­tre­back to cause such a stir was Joleon Lescott – and Batth has wel­comed com­par­isons with the for­mer Eng­land de­fender.

“That has been men­tioned to me in the past and it’s cer­tainly some­thing I’m happy about”, he con­tin­ued. “He was bril­liant for Wolves, and went on to win the Pre­mier League with Manch­ester City and also play many times for Eng­land. If I can repli­cate his ca­reer in any way I would be very happy in­deed.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Images

CAP­TAIN MARVEL: Danny Batth salutes the fans, gets stuck in, above, and would love to em­u­late Joleon Lescott, left

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