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Ward to keep options open if Wolves fail to beat drop

STEPHEN WARD says that nobody in the Wolves dressing-room has given up on staying in the Premier League, but stopped short of fully committing himself to staying at Molineux if they fail to beat the drop.

Terry Connor's men are six points adrift at the bottom of the table and desperately need a win when they host Arsenal tonight.

Already, there has been talk of a summer exodus that could include Irish duo Kevin Doyle and Stephen Hunt. Ward believes it would be a shame if people started thinking about a departure.

"I don't think anyone would want to leave -- I think everyone is happy and settled here," said the full-back. "But I'm sure there will be changes in the summer which will be disappointing -- it depends who's wanted elsewhere.

"It's important, though, that the club don't let players go -- we've had a good squad here and if we do get relegated, we believe we can come straight back up."

When asked if he would intend to stick around, the ex-Bohemians man replied: "I think so, but sometimes if a club comes in for a player... we've got some really high-class players who have proved they can play in the Premier League. It's unfortunate that if we do go down, Wolves can't give them that next season.

"But we'll fight to the end to stay in this league. Most of the lads here have a real relationship with the club and it's just disappointing we're in this position."

Meanwhile, Tony Pulis rested Irish midfielder Glenn Whelan from Monday's league draw with Aston Villa because he believes he is suffering from fatigue.

The Stoke boss reckoned that the Dubliner looked leggy in recent games and dropped him with a view to protecting his fitness for the remainder of the campaign -- and also ensuring he's in one piece for Euro 2012.

Giovanni Trapattoni will be grateful for the decision, although Whelan was disappointed to miss out. "Glenn's looked tired in the last couple of games," said Pulis. "And he's also got the Euros when he's not just representing Ireland, but also Stoke City. He needs the break."

Irish Independent