Date:Wednesday February 22 2006
Jody Craddock hasn't had the best of weeks. After once again establishing himself in the heart of Wolves defence, a knee injury picked up during their 1-0 victory against Ipswich Town has seen him back in the treatment room once more.
Glenn Hoddle's 'technical term' for the problem is that he has rattled his knee. In other words a strained knee ligament.
It's been Jody's worst season for injuries, and although this current one is by far the most serious of them, he thinks it shouldn't be too long before he regains fitness.
But with no prior history of anything other than niggly little problems,he has no choice but to follow the physio's advice, and let time start to heal.
It's a sign of the type of football he's playing of late, that his withdrawal on Saturday was met with warm applause by Wolves fans all around Molineux, which hasn't always been the case. And it didn't go unnoticed.
'I was aware of that and it pleased me, because I've not always had the best of receptions and it was nice to hear that, makes it all worthwhile.' he told Wolves World.
Jody hopes the injury will only keep him out for a couple of weeks which makes it pale next to the 9 months facing another player injured at the weekend.
'You just have to remind yourself that it could be worse, you've just got to look at what's happened to Alan Smith to see that.' he reflected.
Strikers will tell you it's goals that win matches, but defenders have a different view of the facts. A solid defence that can keep damage to an absolute minimum can be just as important a factor in the final result.
The defence has been Wolves most impressive unit this campaign, almost inspite of the frequent personnel changes that have sometimes been forced, and at times been of choice. Something Jody acknowledged isn't the best of tonic's for a players confidence. Only regular first team football, and and hitting a vein of consistency, as he had at the time of his injury, will instill that most important of mindsets in both player and team.
'I think we have had a few clean sheets this season and that's a good thing for all of us. We have been minimising the chances that teams get against us, not just the defence but the whole team.' he remarked, adding :
'Keeping clean sheets wins you games,it's as simple as that. If we can nick a goal at the end thats three points in the bag, thats how important it is this time of the season.'
A clean sheet on Saturday, and Wolves could be heading for 10 points out of a dozen, as the promotion race starts to approach the final bend. Going into the final straight they need to be right on their rivals shoulders, and its a solid defence that will provide them with their legs.
But first they must deal with the threat of Hull City. As once again, Jody Craddock watches from the stands
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