MICHAEL KIGHTLY must be delighted with such a swift return to Premier League football after Wolves’ relegation... and will be keen to show the kind of form that made him a popular figure at Molineux.
The winger completed his move to the Potteries in early August after stating his desire for a fresh challenge following six years at our Staffordshire rivals.
After a couple of injury-interrupted seasons, last year was a productive one for the 26-year-old as he followed up a successful loan spell at Championship Watford by figuring heavily for Wolves in the New Year.
Potters fans will remember the England Under 21 international opening the scoring at the Britannia Stadium back in April, a game City eventually turned around to win 2-1.
He made 33 appearances in total throughout the 2011/12 campaign.
Kightly made his name at non-league Grays Athletic in 2005/06 after being released by Southend United, netting an impressive 15 times including a hat-trick in a 7-2 win at Scarborough.
His performances alerted bigger clubs to his potential, with Manchester United even monitoring the youngster’s progress.
Wolves made their move in November 2006, initially signing Kightly on a two-month emergency loan deal before paying the Essex-based club £44,000 for a permanent transfer.
After finishing runner-up in the club’s Player of the Season awards in 2007, he was linked to a host of clubs including Tottenham Hotspur and Everton but decided to sign a new long-term contract with the West Midlanders.
The Basildon-born midfielder scored eight goals as Wolves won promotion back to the top flight in 2008/09, but his hopes of making a name for himself in the Premier League were dashed after an ankle operation ruled him for much of the season.
Kightly wasn’t included in Wanderers’ 25-man squad for the initial half of 2010/11 after further setbacks, but eventually made his first appearance for over a year in the 4-1 defeat at Newcastle United that April.
He has been capped seven times by England’s Under 21s, making his debut in a friendly against Romania back in August 2007.