Charlton Athletic midfielder Darren Pratley has offered an insight into his impressive fitness at the age of 34, as the season moves into the crucial latter stages.
The Addicks have been battered by injury problems throughout the current campaign but the club’s elder statesman has managed to keep on going, being picked to start by Lee Bowyer in the last 11 Championship games.
But Pratley insists that he is not in the least bit surprised at his displays of fitness.
“I’m not here to have a rest. It doesn’t matter to me whether I’m 34 and stuff like that,” he said in an interview with London News Online.
“I want to play as many games as I can. I’m one of the fittest in the team so if I’m one of the fittest in the team I don’t see why I should personally try and wait for someone to come and take my place.
“The day I’m not bothered when I don’t play is the day I’ll probably say, ‘That’s enough for me’.”
QUIZ: Can you name these 15 ex-Charlton defenders?
Pratley made the move to The Valley in the summer of 2018 after being released by Bolton Wanderers, going on to make 31 League One appearances, including all three play-off matches, as they won promotion.
He is well on his way to beating that tally a season on, however, already amassing 25 second-tier appearances, with 21 games of the season still left to play.
However, his focus will almost certainly remain on steering his side clear of relegation trouble with a 2-1 loss to Preston North End on Saturday leaving them just five points above the drop zone.
This attitude will be extremely pleasing to Charlton fans but probably not in the least bit surprising to them either, having watched them over the past year and a half.
His fitness really has been something to marvel at at times and it is plain to see that the club would be in a worse position without his consistency.
His experience in the second tier will be needed now more than ever as well as they look to fend off an immediate return to League One.