DARREN Ward will make his 68th consecutive appearance for Swindon Town against Shrewsbury Town this weekend and, at 35 years of age, the centre-back has no intention of having a break just yet.
Ward last missed a game when Aston Villa visited the County Ground for a League Cup fourth-round tie in October 2012 and has played every single second of the Robins’ 2013/14 campaign, a remarkable achievement for an outfield player of his age.
However, the former Millwall man feels he is getting stronger with every passing week and he has aspirations to equal and then surpass his previous best, which he believes is a 112-match streak he racked up when he was plying his trade at the New Den.
When asked by the Advertiser what he puts his durability down to, he said: “Paracetemol, Ibufrofen, warm baths, cold baths – in my career I’ve played over 100 games on the spin before and I’ve played more than 550-odd games in total. They’re the things I keep an eye on.
“When I had tests done last season it showed my tolerance is very good and far beyond the level of my age, which is nice to know.
“The more games I play and the more I contribute the better it is for me. I work my socks off every day, probably more so away from football and the training ground than people realise, not that I boast about it. It’s something I keep to myself and it’s a sacrifice you have to make if you want to keep going in your career.
“It’s not always rosy, football. People love you, people hate you and you can’t please everyone unfortunately – you try but it’s not always possible. My age is always going to be thrown in and that’s fair enough – it’s appreciated and accepted but from my results and records it’s probably as good as ever.
“I really do take it game by game and day by day in football because I’ve learned you have to. There are so many things that can happen, it’s incredible, and the more you think about it the more you’re probably prone to finding yourself in a bit of a sticky situation.
“I’m on the side of working hard, putting everything I have in, being there for the players and supporting them and the team as much as I can.”