Writer: Tom Bodell
Date:Tuesday October 11 2011
Michael Kightly, 25, started his professional career with Premier League Tottenham Hotspur as a trainee but it took him 10 years to make his Premier League bow.
Basildon-born Kightly left Spurs in 2001 and signed for hometown club, Basildon United for whom he would turn out for just 18 times, scoring 11 times before returning to league football with Essex outfit, Southend United.
Under Steve Tilson, Kightly made a couple of starts for the Shrimpers with a further 11 appearances coming from the substitutes bench. In order to gain some more first-team experience Kightly was loaned to Farnborough Town where he made 11 appearances.
Kightly scored his only goal for Southend against Luton Town in the Johnstone`s Paint Trophy before being released at the end of the 2004/05 season.
Next stop for Kightly was non-league Grays Athletic and it was with Grays that Kightly began to make his name. Two seasons at Rookery Hill saw Kightly make 53 appearances for the club scoring 24 goals.
That form saw him catch the attention of Wolves boss Mick McCarthy who swooped to sign him on an 'emergency loan` for two months.
Despite stepping up from the Conference to the Championship Kightly took to England`s second tier extremely well scoring twice in his five games on loan in the Midlands.
hose performances were enough to persuade Mick McCarthy to splash out £20,000 to bring Kightly to Molinuex on a permanent basis.
His performances went from strength to strength under McCarthy and he eventually went on to become runner-up to Matt Murray in the Wolves 'Player of the Season` award for 2006/07.
Next season Kightly started as a key player for Wolves before a niggling ankle injury struck. This was the beginning of the injury problems which plagued his time with Wanderers.
It was in 2007 that Kightly made his England U21's debut against Romania. He went on to make a further six appearances for Stuart Pearce's side.
Back to fitness in 2008/09, Kightly found himself sidelined once more having broken his metatarsal. Wolves won promotion all the same before disaster struck again.
The 2009/10 season was equally frustrating as he made just 10 appearances in the Premier League.
Last season was a similar story as he made just the four appearances after returning in April in a 4-1 defeat at Newcastle United.
Perhaps surprisingly, Kightly was named in Wolves` 25-man Premier League squad on August 31 of this year, but having made five appearances with just three of those in the league.
Southend United 2 +11
Farnborough Town (Loan) 10 + 1
Grays Athletic 46 + 8 (24 Goals)
Wolves (Loan) 5 (2 Goals)
Wolves 84 +12 (18 Goals)
Date:Tuesday October 11 2011
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