Ryan Bennett surprised at regular Wolves starts
"I got a chance and I took it", centre-half Ryan Bennett declared, as he admitted he's previously been surprised at starting regularly for Wolves.
The 28-year-old has been one of the stand-out performers this season for Nuno Espirito Santo's team.
Bennett, a free transfer from Norwich City at the start of last season, has started 27 of Wolves' 30 matches in league and cup in 2018/19.
However at the end of pre-season he didn't look to be in Nuno's first-choice XI, with Romain Saiss featuring at right centre-half.
"I think, at different points, I have been surprised that I’m still starting regularly," Bennett said.
"There have been times, if look back at the start of the season, I didn’t know if I was going to play, and I didn’t play for the first 14 games of last year.
"People start asking questions, but you’ve got to keep your head down and keep working hard.
"I got a chance and I took it."
If fit, Bennett will almost certainly take his place in defence when Wolves take on Newcastle United at Molineux on Monday night.
Nuno's team will look to extend their five-game unbeaten run in all competitions and re-establish a four-point lead in seventh place, after Watford beat Everton on Saturday.
"There is that little bit of expectancy now and we’ve got to deal with that," Bennett said.
"But the fans have been with us since day one, every time we’re home or away it’s sold out – even against Shrewsbury, it was a fourth-round replay on a Tuesday night and it was sold out.
“It’s very unusual that a team would sell out this kind of game and they even had to open the stands which were originally closed, which is a credit to the fans.
"It’s been a good season so far, but we set the standard last year and it’s just continued into this season.
"When I came into the club there was a lot of change and a lot of turnaround, but this is all I’ve known since I’ve been here.
"There has always been that buzz around the place, with people expecting big things and fortunately up to this point we’ve provided that, and we just need to keep continuing to do that."
"You look at Newcastle and it’s a massive club. There’s always that expectation there, even now the fans believe they are not doing as well as they think they should be.
“But you go there and it’s similar to us; if you start well as an away team, the fans will be on the players’ backs.
"There’s also things going on behind the scenes that people are not too happy about, but you look at some of the signings they’ve made, some of the sorts of contracts the players are on there, and it’s still a massive club and it’s going to be a tough game."