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Wolves woe has Stephen hunting for win

STEPHEN HUNT is angry. And that's bad news for the defenders of Andorra and Armenia in the coming days.

Of course, it's not all misery and morbidity for the 29-year-old. He's enjoying his new role as a dad following the birth of his daughter, and there was more non-football joy when St Devote, the horse Hunt part-owns with some of his Ireland team-mates, romped home in the 5.05 at Roscommon last week -- a nice little earner at 8/1.

But Hunt is Mr Angry because his club side -- who were briefly top of the Premier League table back in August -- have lost their last four league games as that bright start to the season has faded away with defeats to Newcastle, Liverpool, QPR and Spurs. So, he'll be determined to take out that frustration when he gets into an Ireland shirt, should he be handed a starting role against Andorra on Friday night.


"The last few games haven't gone according to plan for me or for the team, and I think that knocked a bit of confidence out of me. I don't think any player is happy when the team loses but I feel even worse," Hunt admitted to the Herald at the team's Malahide base.

"The last few weeks have been very disappointing for us at Wolves. It's only been OK and not great to be honest, but I've been around long enough to know that you have to deal with it and move on from the club scene to the Ireland games," added the Waterford-born player, who always wears his heart on his sleeve.

"I am very self-critical. I hate it when we lose. I was miserable last Saturday night after we'd lost to Newcastle -- I felt rubbish, like my whole life was on hold for six months. I had to just step back from it, try to rest and get my head right for these Ireland games.

"You have to take the defeats when they come and deal with them. It's not a good sign if you deal with defeat well. I take defeat badly, very badly, and it hurts until I get to play again. But it's a league and we have to deal with that.

"And I think Wolves' run has made me even more determined to do well this week with Ireland.

"I came over here hoping to play some part in the games at least, and maybe get the crucial goal which we need to get us through. That's the dream and hopefully I have that in my locker," added Hunt.

The Euro 2012 campaign has largely bypassed Hunt as injury has forced him to miss a large chunk of the campaign, but the fact that Ireland's big test of the week comes not on Friday but next Tuesday could cause Giovanni Trapattoni to change things around.

"I do feel that some of my best games for Ireland have come away from home. I played most of the games in the last campaign, but I missed the first few in this campaign through injury, so I'm coming into it late on.

"But I am as enthusiastic as ever and I just hope we can get the right result," said Hunt.

"Two games in a week does change things a bit. In Russia we had our backs to the wall. I came on for 20 minutes or whatever it was but maybe I can play from the start this week.

"I have usually done well in the away games for Ireland, so if I can get a run on Friday it might let me set down a marker for the last group game next week.


"For me, the main thing is that I'm fit and playing and getting minutes under my belt, compared to a few weeks ago when I had the flu which knocked me off course a bit."

For this game Hunt has tried to get into the mindset of the players who will oppose Ireland on Friday in Andorra, the Andorran players who are expected to get nothing but a solid beating.

"Looking at Friday, it's like me being a Brentford player going to Old Trafford to play Manchester United, you just raise your game for matches like that.

"You go out to dig in, defend as deep as you can and hope to get a set piece or something like that. You just try not to concede in the first 20 minutes at least," said Hunt.

"In every game against a lesser seed you are expected to win but it won't be easy, it could take us until the 60th minute or more to get ahead. We might be looking to get a goal on the break in the last five minutes -- we don't know, it could be tight.

"I don't want to know the result of the other games until after our own game against Andorra. I don't want to hear the other results, we can't change what happens in Slovakia and we'll probably need to win our last game anyway. But we are confident of getting six points."