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Jack Price enjoying life under Paul Lambert at Wolves

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A first-team place hasn't exactly been a guarantee for Jack Price over the past couple of seasons.

Selected intermittently by Kenny Jackett last year and then frozen out by Walter Zenga, you wondered whether Price would ever be a mainstay in gold and black.

But in Paul Lambert he may have found the boss he's wanted.

The Scot has lavished praise on the midfielder during his three-month Molineux tenure, calling him a 'clever footballer' and 'the type of lad you want to have' who can smell danger and has a good eye for a pass.

Price has responded with some of his best football in a Wolves shirt, enjoying a productive partnership with his attack-minded fellow Salopian David Edwards.

And he says the Wolves boss has given him 'belief and confidence'.

"I'm enjoying my football," Price said.

"The gaffer has given me a lot of belief and confidence in my game – hopefully I'm showing that on the pitch.

"I think the confidence of all the players and staff has improved and the gaffer's given everyone a lift.

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"He loves to join in with the banter and stuff which is good for morale.

"He's been good with the players that haven't made the squad. He'll talk to you on the training field or in his office and explain why.

"He says you don't have to agree with him but that's the way he sees it."

Of Lambert's 13 league games in charge Price has featured in 10, missing two with a hamstring problem and then sitting out last Saturday's defeat at Burton as Lambert rotated his squad following the Liverpool and Barnsley wins.

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Price, more than anyone, knows his place isn't guaranteed, especially with the remarkable competition for a midfield spot.

Edwards, Lee Evans, George Saville, Conor Coady and Romain Saiss are all vying for a place, while Prince Oniangue is out on loan.

It might cause a problem when doing an 11 v 11 on the training field, but Price sees that competition as healthy when it comes to performances on a Saturday afternoon.

"Every time we're linked with a midfielder I just think 'oh no not another one!'" he joked.

"But competition is good. It raises the bar, you have to keep the level or you'll be not playing or out the door.

"You know if you have a bad game you won't be playing next week. That's good, it raises your performance.

"On the training field you want to prove you're the best player, you don't just want it given to you.

"But we're all pulling together – everyone has got great friendships on and off the pitch and you want to see your mate doing well as well.

"You're obviously disappointed when you're not playing but you don't not join in with the celebrations just because you haven't played.

"That's just not the way it is."

While he may have been in and out of the team over the past 18 months one thing has remained constant – the high regard Price is held in by Wolves' supporters.

Despite him playing only 24 of 46 Championship games last season Price was voted as runner-up in the player of the season awards.

And he doesn't even get too much stick on Twitter.

"It's always nice to receive messages on Twitter, even if it's not my best game I still get nicer abuse from the fans!" he said.

"I really appreciate the support I get, it lifts you. You know going onto the pitch you're going to give 100 per cent for them – that's what they want to see."

Wolves face table-toppers Newcastle at Molineux today looking to bounce back following the Burton defeat.

Price is expected to return to the XI. And if so, he'll look forward to playing in from of a buoyant home crowd – something that wasn't the case just a couple of months ago when boos were a regular feature at Molineux before Lambert's arrival.

"You expect that, if you're not getting results," he added. "The fans pay good money to watch you so you expect some stick.

"A few good performances and results at home have changed the relationship with the players on the pitch.

"We're all looking forward to Newcastle It'll be a great atmosphere, similar to the Villa game, and hopefully that'll drive us on to a result.

"We beat them at their place 2-0. I wasn't in the team that day but it was a great day for the squad and the fans.

"They never stopped singing that day. It's a big game, on TV which is good and we'll try and do them over again.

"When we're on that field we do feel fearless at the moment. The freedom and belief the gaffer gives us...and we know we've got match-winners now whereas maybe last season we didn't feel we had that cutting edge up top making chances.

"Now we know that if we keep it tight at the back we'll always make chances and score goals.

"Or just give it to Helder and he'll do his thing!"

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