Shropshire Star

Skipper rallies Wolves troops ahead of derby clash

Skipper Max Kilman has told Wolves to remain united as they look to put the Coventry loss behind them and recover at Villa this evening.


After conceding two late goals to lose their FA Cup quarter-final, Wolves have had the international break to stew over their disappointment.

Now, with a West Midlands derby the next challenge, Kilman is eager to turn the team’s attention to tonight in what is a huge game in their race for European football.

“It was tough to take,” Kilman said of the Coventry loss.

“Obviously, our goal was to get to the next round. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen, but we’ve had this break to recover, recuperate and we’ve got a lot of focus on for the last remaining fixtures of the season.

“Playing just before the internationals, it was difficult because we had so much time until the next game.

“If you have a game in three days it’s a bit easy to get over, but as a footballer, there are many ups and downs and it’s part of it. We need to make sure as a team we’re all together and ready to tackle the rest of the season.

“We’ve had many tough games against Villa and, the last few, we’ve had some really good games. This is going to be another one and we’re both pushing for something, so need to be ready for that.

“We’ve got a lot of ambition. We don’t set goals for where we’ll finish at the end of the season. The whole season we’ve taken game by game and since the manager came in we’ve implement that strategy, and it’s worked really well for us. We’ve still got lots of tough games to go.”

Despite suffering from several injuries to an already small squad, Wolves will be boosted by the return of Matheus Cunha to the squad this evening.

The Brazilian has missed seven weeks with a hamstring injury, but is ahead of schedule on his recovery.

“When he first came in, coming to a new league – the hardest in the world – and I think it takes time for most players to adjust, and you could see that at the start,” Kilman added.

“This season and towards the end of last season, he was showing lots of ability and how good of a player he is, and this season he’s hit the ground running and has been phenomenal.

“It’s been a shame he’s been out and hopefully he can carry on where he left off. He’s a brilliant character, very funny. He’s got so much joy and a very positive guy, so great to have around.”

In Kilman’s first season as captain, the academy graduate has enjoyed a campaign where Wolves have put themselves in European contention.

The 26-year-old has also enjoyed an impressive individual campaign, with consistent performances that have helped push the team forward.

And the skipper appreciates his leadership role as he prepares to lead them into a derby.

“I’ve enjoyed it so much, captaining this club has been unbelievable – every day when I come in, I love what I’m doing,” Kilman said.

“There’s been an increase in responsibility for sure and we’ve lost a lot of players, and had a lot of change at the club, so as a team we’ve done well to settle everything down and make sure we have the same goal and focus towards it.

“I’ve definitely grown, but I’ve also learned to be myself. I had great examples in Conor Coady and Ruben Neves, two different types of captains, and I’ve got my own way and I’m enjoyed it. It’s going well.”