Ward: Critics spurred us on

Ward, who joined the club in 2007, helped the Black Country side

maintain their stay in the top flight on the final day of the

season despite losing 3-2 to Blackburn. And the Republic of Ireland

international, who earned his first cap recently, admits the

predictions of Mick McCarthy’s side dropping to the Championship

spurred them on. The 25-year-old defender said: “We try not to look

at what people are saying to be honest, but at the start of the

season we weren’t really tipped to go down. “We had a little dip in

form, though, and that dropped us into the bottom three, which is

when people started to predict us as one of the teams going down.

“When you hear that then it does give us more ammunition to try and

prove them wrong, but we tend to just concentrate on what we are

doing rather than influences outside of the club.”