Danny Batth has waited a long time for his chance to make his full league debut for Wolves.
And some 12 years after joining the club at the age of 10, the Brierley Hill-born-and-bred Wolves academy graduate isn’t about to jeopardise anything at this late stage.
Batth politely declined the chance to talk to the media about what is expected to be his big evening tonight with Roger Johnson starting a three-match ban.
Johnson’s absence, plus the exits of Richard Stearman and Ronald Zubar in a week of departures at Wolves, means Batth is in prime position for his big bow against Leicester at the King Power Stadium.
But if the 6ft 3ins stopper wants to let his action do his talking for him on the pitch, there are those more than willing to speak about Batth’s potential.
Like his predecessor Stale Solbakken, boss Dean Saunders has been impressed by Batth and the Welshman is convinced he is ready for Championship football.
“I wouldn’t hesitate to put him in – but I’ll see how I feel tonight!” said Saunders, still giving himself some ‘wriggle’ room.
“Sometimes these things are meant to happen – someone gets suspended or injured and young players get a chance and take it.
“I like him – his heart is in the right place, he’s brave, desperate to play and he’s got exactly the right temperament.”
From his teens, Batth gained a reputation of someone not afraid to speak up even if he thought a senior player had done something wrong.
That single-minded streak extended into developing his touch and distribution with extra sessions in Solbakken’s brief regime.
And the current boss believes Batth has a winning mentality.
“Not everyone is an angel, but you have to want to win – that’s the biggest thing,” said Saunders.
“And you must have people prepared to fall out with their team-mates if it makes them win, not people just happy picking their wages up.
“You can have some rogues in your team – as long as they want to win and they’ve got that fire in their belly, and that’s what I want.”
Saunders has his own source of ‘intel’ to tap into about Batth after signing the Wolves youngster’s central defensive partner at Sheffield Wednesday last season, Rob Jones, for Doncaster in the summer.
“I’m not saying Danny’s a rogue,” said Saunders.
“He played 40-odd games for Sheffield Wednesday last season alongside Rob Jones and they won automatic promotion.
“They’re two big, strong centre-backs and Rob speaks highly of him.
“I’ve watched him in training and I think he’s going to be a good player.”
Batth has been preparing for what looks like the toughest possible test at this level at the moment, against giant frontman Chris Wood.
The 21-year-old New Zealander has already paid back a slice of the £1.25m initial fee paid to Albion with seven goals in five games since his switch from the Hawthorns.
Leicester have won five and drawn one of their last six and Wood’s Foxes team-mate Ben Marshall insisted he has been the difference recently.
“I don’t see him as a target man – for me, when I come inside, I look up and he’s making runs so it makes it a lot easier for me to find him,” said the midfielder, who caught the eye in Wolves’ 2-1 win over Leicester earlier in the season.
“His goals are the difference. Hopefully he can carry on making the difference in the promotion run-in.”Subscribe to our Newsletter