Jake Buxton has revealed he’s been playing through the pain barrier as he tries to help Wigan Athletic fight their way out of the relegation mire.
The big centre-half has been a virtual ever-present since joining Latics from Championship rivals Derby County last summer.
Indeed, the only three games he’s missed were due to suspension following his controversial red card in the EFL Cup defeat at Oldham back in August.
That record is even more impressive considering he’s been carrying an Achilles problem for much of the campaign, which has prevented him training as much as he would have liked.
But he reveals the situation was exacerbated last week with a fresh hip problem which was aggravated by the long trip down to QPR.
“I’ve been struggling, I struggled big time last Tuesday,” Buxton told the Post.
“We travelled down to QPR, and the travelling...for the first time I realised I’m going!
“It was three hours out of my way north to get to Wigan from Derbyshire, then down to London, then back up to Derbyshire.
“It was the best part of about 12 hours on the road on Monday and Tuesday, and it does take it out of your body.
“The Achilles problem is still there, I’m managing to play through that one.
“I’ve also got my hip...nothing major, it’s part and parcel of the game, but it’s there.
“The games are coming thick and fast, and you’ve got people putting their bodies on the line, giving it everything.”
Buxton, who was immediately appointed vice-captain on his arrival by then-boss Gary Caldwell, has proved to be a shrewd capture over the last eight months. And the 31-year-old has reiterated his determination to repay the faith shown in him by his DW bosses.
“I don’t want to drop out of the side, I want to play every game,” Buxton added.
“This club put a decent contract in front of me last summer, to come up here from Derby.
“And I want to repay David Sharpe and everyone at the football club for doing that, by helping us stay in the division.”
Meanwhile, Latics will be recognised in Parliament for their outstanding community work, having been named North West Community Club of the Year as part of the 2017 EFL Awards.
The club will be joined by five other EFL regional winners at the House of Commons on Monday, March 6 to receive their award.
The national winner will be announced on Sunday, April 9 in central London.