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Safety first for Wolves boss Dean Saunders

Sport | Published:

Manager Dean Saunders today admitted for the first time that Wolves must avoid the drop before thinking about chasing the play-offs.

Wolves seek their first double of the season with tomorrow's visit of Blackpool languishing 17th in the Championship, seven points off the drop zone and 13 points off the play-offs with 18 matches left.

Saunders believes the players can still challenge for a top-six spot but admits there is work to be done to avoid a second successive relegation first.

He said: "I have told them we've got to fight our way back in to the promotion race.

"If we get a run of form together, we can do it but I've also got one eye on making sure we get enough points so we're clear of danger.

"The more likely scenario is we're going to creep up the league. But we just need some positive results quickly so we can put those concerns to bed.

"If we win four games on the trot, that would completely change our position. It's unlikely but it's not impossible and we're going to have a go."

Saunders insisted Wolves will continue to battle their way through matches, rather than play a more cultured passing game – which suggests Jamie O'Hara may have to wait for a recall.

The Wolves boss said: "We have tried playing our way out of it and we were shipping goals and we have got to have people who want to fight.

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"When you get good results, you get confidence and everyone wants the ball. But we have got to get the confidence back into the players first."

Saunders revealed he has to get rid of "six or seven" players and admits he may have to take a guess on those who leave.

He said: "I have got to make an educated guess on some of them."

Ronald Zubar, Christophe Berra, Stephen Hunt and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake are out of contract this summer.

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But the Wolves boss insists players won't have their contracts paid up.

He said: "No – once one gets it, they will all want it. You can't just give players away – we are not going to start doing that, unless we are prepared to cut our losses."

Tongo Doumbia (back) is fit for tomorrow's visit of Blackpool, as are David Edwards (hamstring) and Stephen Hunt (hip).

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