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Monday, April 1, 2013
Saunders hit by Ebanks-Blake injury

David Instone

Dean Saunders has tempered Wolverhampton Wanderers' joy at their six-point Easter by revealing that Sylvan Ebanks-Blake could have played his final game of 2012-13.

The club's leading scorer hit his 14th and 15th goals of the season to set up the potentially crucial 3-2 victory at Birmingham City and lift his club four places to 18th in the Championship table. But the striker could now miss the rest of the season with an ankle injury.

And the Molineux boss was critical of his side's need to play two games in three days over a weekend in which Birmingham had almost an extra 24 hours to prepare following their stunning Friday night success at Crystal Palace.

"We had injuries just from tiredness," Saunders said 12 years to the day since Wolves had last won at the venue in the League. "I had a dilemma with Jamie O'Hara because of a dead leg, then I had David Davis shouting at me to bring him off because of a groin injury.

"You get injuries when you have tiredness; Sylvan stretched and has done his ankle ligaments. He might be out for the season. I haven't moaned to the League about it and obviously there have been live games on the TV. But we weren't recovered from playing on Saturday."

Saunders was nevertheless delighted with the continued dramatic upturn in Wolves' results since his reign at the club kicked off with nine matches without a victory.

They looked like adding in style at St Andrew's to Saturday's 3-2 home win over Middlesbrough as they struck three times in 16 first-half minutes  first through Stephen Hunt and then twice through Ebanks-Blake.

They led 3-0 at the interval but O'Hara and, deep in stoppage time, Jack Robinson conceded needless penalties which Wade Elliott conceded, albeit the second time after his kick was saved by Dorus de Vries. Ebanks-Blake's second goal was also from a penalty in an incident-packed game in which Birmingham hit the outside of the post three times and missed several chances, most of which fell to Wes Thomas.

"The first half was absolutely magnificent and it could have been more," Saunders added. "I told the players at half-time not to give anything away but we did and we were hanging on.

"It's a massive win but I closed my eyes when that free-kick went in in the last few seconds because Zigic got bigger and bigger as the game went on.

"We're three points off 11th place now and normally 50 or 51 points would be okay. Winning four games out of five, as we have&&you would usually be out of it. But we might need two or three more. You have only got to lose one and draw one and you're back in it."

Birmingham manager Lee Clark was frustrated by the latest backward step in his club's up and down campaign and condemned the attitude of some of his players.

"Without the ball in the first half, we were rubbish; woeful," he said. "I think we got a bit excited about what happened on Friday.

"Teams at the bottom are on ridiculous runs but I'm frustrated because we could have gone eighth with a win. Strangely, we could still have won the game. We had a lot of chances and I don't recall Jack Butland being troubled much."




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