AFTER more than a decade providing the fulcrum to midfields at Wolves and QPR, starting off the current season in the unwanted pile was a surreal experience for Karl Henry.

A career approaching 500 league games had hit a tough patch and at the age of 34, the Wolverhampton native might well have wondered if another reasonable offer was to be forthcoming.

Henry had banded together with some of his former Molineux team-mates in an effort to stay fit and also recruited the help of his former Stoke City boss Tony Pulis, who brought him into the training ground at West Brom.

And it was on a strong recommendation from the Baggies chief that Phil Parkinson went out on a limb at the end of September to offer him a short-term deal.

“There was no hesitation when he called me,” Henry told The Bolton News. “In fact I’d said yes before he even put the phone back down.

“I’m chuffed to be playing football again because the situation which had developed after leaving QPR was all a bit strange. I wasn’t used to not playing regular football because I’d done it for the last 10 years, or so.”

The unexpected detour in Henry’s career happened at QPR when Jimmy Floyd-Hasselbaink was sacked in November last season and replaced with Ian Holloway.

“Up until Jimmy left I was in the team, I was a mainstay for him, and when Ian Holloway came in we had our differences and didn’t see eye to eye. He made it clear he didn’t want me around,” Henry said.

“He has his way, I respected that. To have then waited six months for my next game was difficult. It was tough to take.

“But the experience has made this at Bolton all the more special. At 34 I want to enjoy my last few years, I want success and I want to help us have a great season – to get out of that relegation zone.”

Henry was pushed straight into action at Bristol City, barely 24 hours after meeting his new team-mates, but after defeat at Ashton Gate has since helped to steady form at the Macron Stadium. Wanderers remained undefeated in October but the midfielder is not about to take the credit.

“I’d love to but Josh Vela came in as well, and he missed the defeat at Bristol City, so it’s probably more down to him,” he laughed.

“I’m chuffed to be playing football, enjoying playing again, and getting points. It isn’t nice losing games, so getting that little bit closer to safety is a great feeling.

“It has been easy to settle in. I haven’t had that many moves in my career but you tend to find it’s the same sort of thing in every dressing room – 80 per cent good lads, 20 per cent weirdos. And it’s no different here.”

Today’s opponents Norwich have taken more points away from Carrow Road this season but have struggled to score goals.

Only Wanderers, Birmingham and Burton have hit the target on fewer occasions than Daniel Farke’s side, who start the day ninth in the table.

Henry is upbeat that the Whites can keep their steady form going.

“We go into the game in good spirits, four unbeaten, so confidence should be high,” he said.

“When you are down at the bottom it can be difficult if you are not creating anything, or scoring goals. Sometimes you can look at it and think ‘where are the points going to come from?’

“We’re conceding one too many at the moment but we’re looking like scoring lots.”

Phil Parkinson believes Henry’s success thus far at Bolton has been down to his communication skills, which have brought out the best in the players around him.

“I enjoy doing it, I’m not sure the rest of the lads enjoy it, though,” he said.

“I’ve worked under some managers where organisation is key – Mick McCarthy and Tony Puils especially – and you can get an edge on your opponents if you all know what you are doing.

“It’s like a game of chess. You see someone out of position and you pull them back in. Two or three yards on a football pitch makes the world of difference.

“If you are all on-point, all of a sudden you have a really strong defensive unit to play against.