Wolves staring down Premier League barrel
Updated Friday, 13th April 2012
Michael Kightly admits there are "a million and one reasons" why Wolves are bottom of the Premier League table.
Wolves travel to Sunderland on Saturday knowing defeat could see them clinging on to their Premier League status by virtue of goal difference alone.
Wednesday's 3-0 loss to Arsenal made it seven consecutive defeats for Terry Connor's team in what has been a disastrous campaign for the Midlands club.
From owner Steve Morgan's decision to enter the dressing room after their defeat to Liverpool, the club's drawn-out pursuit of a replacement for sacked manager Mick McCarthy, culminating in them turning to his assistant Connor, and a series of incidents surrounding captain Roger Johnson, it has been a season punctuated by controversy.
"There are a million and one reasons probably why we haven't been good enough this season. We are all gutted about that and showing fight is the least we can do," winger Kightly said.
"We will give it 110% to the last day even if we are mathematically not able to get out of it. No one will be throwing the towel in. Each one of us will be making sure of that so that won't be happening."
Having claimed seven points from their first three matches - enough to temporarily send them top - Wolves are facing up to the sobering prospect of relegation before they host Manchester City a week on Sunday should results go against them before then.
While the odds look stacked against them avoiding slipping back into the second tier, Kightly insists they have what it takes to make an instant return.
"I just hope most of lads stay together if go down and try and get Wolves back up," he said.
"Of course, it is up to the club who they want to bring in and whether they make changes or not.
"But we've got a good bunch of lads here and we've shown we can do it before in the Championship by getting promoted.
"We are realists about our situation but, if we do go down, hopefully we can bounce back up."
Meanwhile, Connor has confirmed Wolves will not be appealing Sebastien Bassong's red card against the Gunners.
Counterpart Martin O'Neill insists he won't let Sunderland's season fizzle out.
The Wearside club's hopes of clinching a second straight top 10 finish suffered a blow with their comprehensive 4-0 defeat at Everton to see them drop into the bottom half of the table for only the second time since January.
With five games left, O'Neill has called for one final push to end the campaign on a high, starting with the visit by struggling Wolves.
The Northern Irishman is determined not to let go to waste the hard work that's seen him lead the climb out of the bottom three, in addition to making it to the sixth round of the FA Cup, since he took charge in December.
"The one thing about this team is that they respond to setbacks. They've done in the past and we need to do it against Wolves. I don't want to see the season die out on us," O'Neill said.
"There's been a great effort to get away from the relegation zone and we had a great cup run, but now we have to put all those things to one side and finish as strongly as we can."
Denmark forward Nicklas Bendtner hopes to return after missing the Goodison Park defeat with a back problem.