Cherries: Pain no barrier for skipper Pearce
LIONHEARTED leader Jason Pearce is determined to defy the pain and soldier on to help his troops seal promotion glory. The centre-half, who broke a toe in training at the end of February, was clearly struggling during the closing stages of Tuesday night's victory over Hereford United. Pearce revealed the injury was still troubling him, but the fierce competitor insisted he was in no mood to watch from the sidelines. A multiple player of the year as Cherries avoided relegation last term, Pearce has again been an inspirational member of Eddie Howe's team this time round. And with just four games remaining and Cherries six points clear of the chasing pack, the dedicated skipper is relishing the prospect of guiding his team into League One. He told the Echo: I'm just trying to play through the pain at the moment. Promotion is what I want and everyone in the team wants that, so if I can help towards that and play and help the team get wins, I will be delighted. I had an x-ray a couple of weeks ago and I've still got a slight fracture there. But because it's a clean fracture I'm able to play on it, but it is still quite painful. The radiologist has said I'm not going to make it worse by playing on it now, so I'm happy to do it. Once we get past this Saturday, the games will be Saturday to Saturday, so I can rest during the week to get it right and, hopefully, be all right for the games. I've been dying to get back ever since I did the injury and, to get back in as quickly as I did, I was delighted. I just want to stay in the team now and help us get promotion. Pearce, who says he has a pre-match injection to help him overcome the pain, is the latest in a long line of players to go through the pain barrier this season as Cherries' wafer-thin squad has defied the odds. The tough-tackling defender, who was named captain in January, missed six matches with the toe problem before returning to face Rochdale on Easter Monday. He added: To lead the team out is great, so I definitely want to play through the pain to get that promotion and lead the boys out. It will be a tough run-in but the six-point gap is a great one to have at this stage of the season. Meanwhile, Howe reported that Shaun Cooper (Achilles) was unlikely to be risked against Darlington on Saturday, with Ryan Garry (hip flexor) described as a big doubt. Pearce is one of two Cherries players nominated for the Professional Footballers' Association Fans' Player of the Year award for League Two. Along with top scorer Brett Pitman, he is joined on the shortlist by Calvin Zola (Crewe Alexandra), Chris O'Grady (Rochdale), Michael Symes (Accrington Stanley) and Kasper Schmeichel (Notts County). To register your vote, visit fansaward.givemefootball.com Cherries' youth team drew 1-1 at Swansea City on Tuesday thanks to a Bradley Magookin overhead kick. The result followed a 0-0 stalemate against Cheltenham Town on Saturday.
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