Andy Thompson urges Wolves to get themselves fired up for derby day battle

Club great Andy Thompson hopes Wolves can recreate the ‘brilliant’ memories of 1996 at The Hawthorns this evening.

WOLVERHAMPTON NEWS  EXPRESS & STAR ( JOHN SAMBROOKS ) 13/10/16   Andy Thompson pictured at the Sherpa Van Trophy Evening at the Cleveland Arms Sports Bar, Stowheath Lane, Wolverhampton.                                                                                         .              .                               .
WOLVERHAMPTON NEWS EXPRESS & STAR ( JOHN SAMBROOKS ) 13/10/16 Andy Thompson pictured at the Sherpa Van Trophy Evening at the Cleveland Arms Sports Bar, Stowheath Lane, Wolverhampton. . . .

Thompson starred in an unforgettable 4-2 win against the Baggies, with his best friend Steve Bull on the mark while Iwan Roberts grabbed a hat-trick.

That was Wolves’ last victory at Albion, and a day which the the 53-year-old – who will be analysing every kick later on for club radio with Mikey Burrows – will never forget.

“There’s always been that rivalry and that was a great day,” said Thompson, who made 451 appearances in gold and black after leaving the Baggies in 1986.

“We hadn’t played them that much until we got up to what’s now the Championship, but it was always nice to get a result.

“And to win at The Hawthorns the way we did was brilliant.

“Iwan got the hat-trick, and you could see what Bully’s goal meant to him as well.

“Wherever it was, at The Hawthorns or Molineux, there was always a bit of a grudge.

“You want to come out on top, that’s the main thing, and that result was great.”

Thompson was involved in several Black Country derbies and they were always extra special for him.

Bull, who made the move from The Hawthorns to Molineux at the same time, of course, has often spoken about wanting to prove a point to his former employers.

And Thompson had the exact same mindset going into those full-blooded clashes.

“When I left West Brom, I was only 19. It wasn’t my decision and I was surprised, if anything,” he said, having made 29 first-team appearances for Albion after coming through their youth ranks.

“I’d been playing in the team and I was disappointed when I left.

“But when I spoke to Wolves and Graham Turner, he sold the club to me – even though Wolves were in no state to really be sold to you back then.

“West Brom was a big part of my life and I was there for six years, from 13 until 19.

“So, it was always nice to go back – to a team that has let you go – and get the right result.

“And that’s what we did a few times, to be fair.”

As well as the 4-2 triumph 25 years ago, Thompson played in the 2-1 success in 1989 when Bull smashed in a last-minute winner.

And no matter the result, there was always an unmistakable edge to those clashes.

“The derby games are great. There’s always that bit more at stake and an edge to it,” said Thompson.

“You knew how much it meant to the fans, you knew what was expected of you.

“You basically had to run a lot more, and it was always great to get the result.

“They often say form goes out the window, and it’s right.

“You only have to look at what happened earlier this year with us halfway in the Premier League and Albion at the bottom, but we end up losing.

“For whatever reason, form goes out the window and you have to keep the fans happy.”

Iwan Roberts celebrates his third goal in that 1996 triumph

Thompson now watches Wolves home and away every week and, having witnessed the dismal 4-0 defeat at home to Burnley last time out, has highlighted the importance of being up for a physical battle.

Nuno Espirito Santo’s side struggled hugely on that front against the Clarets and cannot afford to do so again.

“You’ve got to compete. You can have bad games, of course, but you’ve got to compete and get into teams – especially in these derby games,” said Thompson.

“You can’t allow teams to get the better of you.

“You’ve got to try to come out on top in your own personal battles as well.

“That’s what they’ve got to do tonight – win their own personal battles.

“We all know West Brom are going to come out fighting, trying to keep themselves up, so they must make sure they are ready for that.”

Thompson is sure Wolves’ current crop will be desperate to put things right against Sam Allardyce’s charges this evening and give supporters something to shout about, too.

“On the back of Burnley, I’m sure the players will be well up for it,” he added.

“They’ve had a full week of training to prepare for the game.

“We’ve all been there and had bad defeats, and after them, you’re just waiting for that next game to come along, to put in a decent performance.

“So, hopefully, they are able to get the right result.”

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