Cherries: Fletch can match Furlong's longevity
BARNET boss Ian Hendon has urged Cherries veteran Steve Fletcher to continue his career for as long as his body will let him. Hendon watched the 37-year-old targetman turn in an impressive performance after replacing Alan Connell at half-time during Tuesday night's 1-1 draw at Underhill. Fletcher, though, wasn't the oldest player on the park with Hendon throwing on 41-year-old striker Paul Furlong with half-an-hour remaining. Hendon, who will be 38 on Saturday, plied his trade in the league with the Bees between 2005 and 2007, making 65 league appearances, before injury forced him to reluctantly hang up his boots at the end of last season. The former defender, who racked up more than 500 games during his playing career, told the Echo: We had an 18-year-old making his home debut at the back (Spurs loanee Calum Butcher) and he acquitted himself very well against a very experienced centre forward in Fletcher. It's great to see both Fletcher and Furs still playing, but they are two very different players. Fletcher came on and did a great job, but I look at Furs at 41 years old and he's as fit as he was when he was 21. Time doesn't age him and he's as fit as a fiddle. Fletcher is a different type of player, but he's doing very well so why shouldn't he carry on. If he feels right in his body then he should and if I was giving him advice I'd tell him to keep going as long as he can. I played in this league for a few years and I'd love to be out there now having a go, but unfortunately I got injured. But footballers now, even at this level, really look after themselves. They love playing and prepare themselves in the right way. That's what Paul Furlong does and although I can't speak for Steve because I don't work with him every day, knowing Eddie Howe, I'm sure that's what Fletch does too. Brett Pitman's stunning strike a minute before half-time earned Cherries a point in Hertford-shire, after John O'Flynn's goal after a quarter-of-an-hour had put the hosts in front. Hendon added: I think a point was a fair result. We had the better of the chances in the first half and we were disappointed to be level at half-time, but Bournemouth came out in the second half and played ever so well.
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