Clarets defender Ward out to put one over on former club Wolves

Stephen Ward will always have a special place in his heart for Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Friday, 18th March 2016, 7:24 am
04/12/2011 - Barclays Premier League - Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Sunderland - Jack Colback of Sunderland battles with Stephen Ward of Wolves - Photo: Simon Stacpoole / Offside.

But he is looking to inflict more pain on a club who have won just two of their last 11 outings.

Wolves, tomorrow’s visitors to Turf Moor, gave Ward his chance in English football, paying a then-League of Ireland record fee of £100,000 to Dublin club Bohemians in January 2007.

Signed as a striker, Ward scored three goals in his first six outings, winning the Championship player of the month award in February that year.

However, the following season he moved out to the left flank, before, in Wolves’ title-winning season of 2008-09, slotting in at left back.

Ward spent three seasons in the Premier League with Wolves, before back to back relegations, and after a season on loan at Brighton, he joined Burnley in 2014, linking up with fellow Wolves title-winners Jason Shackell, Michael Kightly, David Jones and Sam Vokes.

Ward looked ahead to facing his old club for only the second time: “I had great times at Wolves. I’ll always have fond memories of my time there – they gave me my break over here.

“It’s a great club, but I’m a Burnley player now, there’s a few of us here. It’s nice to be back with the lads.

“But it’s important we get the three points and keep striving for where we want to go.”

Where the Clarets want to go is back to the Premier League after relegation last season, but Ward, as with the rest of the squad and management, is not allowing himself to think of promotion, or the title, but simply the next game.

He added: “We’ve got our aim of what we want to do this season, and at the minute we’re working hard and striving towards that.

“But no-one’s looking too far ahead wondering what’s going to happen until that last day of the season, and then we’ll see where we are.

“We concentrate on ourselves.

“Every game is important. We want to keep performing the way we have been.

“It’s really pleasing at the moment, but we’ll work hard and get ourselves ready for a tough game, as every game is in this league.”

Wolves sit 12th in the table, 12 points off the play-off places and 11 above the drop zone, but of the two wins they have collected since January 16th, one came against fifth-place Derby County recently.

Ward said: “Anyone coming to our place they want to turn us over, so it will be a tough game.

“They’re on a strange sort of run at the minute, but they’ve beaten some of the so-called bigger teams.

“They had a good win against Derby, so we have to be wary of them.

“We’ll give them the respect we give any team.”

Burnley were held to a goal-less draw at Molineux back in November, but Wolves have not won on the road since New Year’s Day – when they upset Brighton at the Amex Stadium.

The Clarets have won eight of their last nine home games, with a goal-less draw with Ipswich Town the only blemish in that run.

And Sean Dyche’s side have conceded only one goal in that run at Turf Moor, to Jacob Butterfield in a 4-1 win over Derby.

Ward added: “We’re confident whoever we play in this league.

“We want to keep going the way we are, but we’re still under no illusions how tough this league is.

“Huddersfield was a tough game last week, and I thought we did a really professional job, so it’s been a good week for us.”