Craddock rallies Wolves ahead of crucial games

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The Independent Online

The captain of Wolves, Jody Craddock, has issued a rallying call to his team ahead of the most important week in their season so far. Mick McCarthy's side have picked up headline-grabbing wins against four of the top six Premier League teams, but prop up the table – partly due to their inability to get results against relegation rivals.

The Molineux outfit have collected just one point from a possible 15 against the four teams directly above them – a record Craddock feels has to change. He said: "It's so tight down there that we need to beat the teams around us to get above them. It's frustrating that we've gone on to beat Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United but are still bottom. We've just got to look at those games and take all of the positives into every game we've got left."

Wolves play West Brom in the Black Country derby on Sunday, followed by Blackpool the Saturday afterwards, and winger Matt Jarvis is under no illusions about the importance of those two fixtures. He said: "We need a result, and the next two games are against teams that are in and around us. We're going to have to be very strong and mentally tough."

Both men were speaking at the launch of former Wolves goalkeeper Matt Murray's testimonial year, from which proceeds will be donated to four charities – the Alzheimer's Society, Penn Fields Special School, West Park Cycling group and the Mzamomhle Primary School, situated in a poverty-stricken area near Cape Town.

Murray himself was keen to emphasise just how big the next two games are for the club. "These are two games that will be very, very important for our survival," he said. "With the Black Country derby as well, there's extra spice, so if we can win these next two, or certainly not lose, then that will be a massive help for our survival."

West Brom sporting director Dan Ashworth has come out fighting in the wake of recent heavy criticism over the club's failure to strengthen their squad during the January transfer window. The Baggies' sole acquisition last month at a time when they are fighting to stay in the Premier League was a loan deal involving Arsenal striker Carlos Vela.

Ashworth, however, has revealed the club made a total of 29 bids for strikers last month, Ashworth said: "We didn't sit on our backsides and do nothing through the window. We actually made bids on 29 strikers in January to take on loan."

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