Wolverhampton Wanderers’ defender Matt Hill is hoping to give manager Mick McCarthy a selection headache after coming through his first full 90 minutes after suffering a knee injury.
The 27-year-old left-back played the entire match of a behind-closed-doors friendly with Birmingham City at Blues’ Wast Hills training ground in midweek. Wolves won 4-1 and Hill hopes he has proved that his injury is behind him.
He joined Wolves in the summer from Preston North End and was injured almost straightaway. He has since been forced to sit on the sidelines but is adamant he is fit again and raring to have ome big-match experience.
Wolves play Burnley at Molineux on Saturday and while that match may be a game too soon for Hill at least he feels he is giving the manager food for thought.
He said: “I was delighted to have come through the 90 minutes. I played at centre half as well because, obviously, George Friend is in there at left back and it was felt I could move across to the centre. I enjoyed it, it went well and the knee felt great. I’m just glad to be back out there and playing again.”
Hill knows McCarthy’s staff are keepng a watching brief on his progress and are eager not to rush him back too soon. He said: “The staff kept looking at me asking if I was OK to carry on and I just kept giving them the thumbs-up.
“Once I’d got this opportunity I wanted to make the most of it. It’s all about getting as much game time as possible and that’s the first 90 minutes in the tank.
“Now it’s a case of keeping going and training hard and getting more games when I can. Obviously it’s frustrating to come to a new club and pick up an injury. You’re wanting to get there and settle in, get involved and have a piece of the action. It’s not worked out that way so far but now I’m back, hopefully building up my match fitness, and will be able to challenge.”
Hill has seen his team-mates guide Wolves to the top of the Coca-Cola Championships in his absence and is delighted. “The lads have obviously done really well so far and have picked up some great results,” he said.
“My aim now has to be to get back to full match-fitness and push on to a position where I can try to give the gaffer a problem. There’s a great team spirit about and I’m looking forward to getting back and being ready to play when needed.”
Jody Craddock, the Wolves central defender who has been out since August because of a broken toe, is experiencing discomfort even though a specialist has ruled that it has healed.