IT’S BATTH TIME
Wolves’ ever-present defender Danny closes in on a Molineux record
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.
“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.
“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.”
CAPTAIN MARVEL: Danny Batth salutes the fans, gets stuck in, above, and would love to emulate Joleon Lescott, left