Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo has paid tribute to his players for their remarkable injury-free record this season.
Sporting director Kevin Thelwell revealed recently that there has been 98.5 per cent availability of the first-team squad this season, which shows an increase on the 95 per cent under Kenny Jackett in 2014-15.
With just four games of the season left, Wolves’ list of injuries has so far been restricted to a back strain to Ivan Cavaleiro which saw him miss the first six Premier League matches and a minor knock to Diogo Jota in February, which caused him to miss the FA Cup replay against Shrewsbury but didn’t keep him out of any league action.
Wolves are again at full strength for tomorrow’s visit of Arsenal, which is all the more telling as they generally operate with only 16 outfield players.
“It’s credit to the players – the way they work, the way they respect themselves, when they are here but also when they are at home,” said head coach Nuno.
“Of course what they do here is a big part of it – the way they work, the way they rest, the way they recover.
“It’s credit to the players and, sometimes, some luck, to avoid what happens in football – knocks, all these things, but we have been able to sustain them and keep doing it well.
“I don’t like to talk about injuries because these things can happen, but fortunately we have been strong and holding up quite well in the competition.”
Wolves have relied on pretty much the same 16 outfield players throughout the season. But Nuno insists they are not tired and in need of a break.
“No. It’s not a question of tiredness,” he said. “Yes it’s a small squad because we believe in that.
“We started with 18 players, two players went out on loan and we stayed with 16 players, plus the goalkeepers with the back-up of the Under-23s.
“We did it because we believe the more time they spend together and the more chance they have to compete together, they will become better. That’s the idea. It’s a belief.”
Wolves host the Gunners aiming to reclaim seventh spot after dropping to 10th place following the 0-0 draw against Brighton last weekend.
Only a point separates Everton in seventh and Wolves, with Watford and Leicester City in between.
The team finishing seventh will qualify for the Europa League providing Manchester City beat Watford in the FA Cup final.
Nuno insists Wolves will not be letting up for the final four games of the season.
“No because there is no reference to the table,” he said. “The reference is to grow and to improve – every game is a chance to improve. There’s no thinking about the summer or next season. It’s a game by game process.
“We have a fantastic opportunity to become a better team.
“We want to try new things but at the same time to make players grow on the idea of what we want regarding the future.
“All these things are what we want to focus on until the end.”