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28 February 2017

SHAUN Barker praises the determination of fellow defender John Brayford after nearing a full recovery from a knee injury.

John Brayford has been out with injury since coming off in the early exchanges against QPR back in January, but his teammate Shaun Barker says the 29-year-old will do anything to get back fit.

The pair played together at Derby County for three years under Nigel Clough and the now-Albion boss has brought them both to the Pirelli Stadium to boost Burton Albion’s survival hopes.

Barker said: “He is the meaning of a selfless character, a very talented footballer don’t get me wrong, but what he goes through to make sure he’s fit for games is extraordinary and that’s why the gaffer takes certain players to certain clubs. We’ve got characters here.”

34-year-old Shaun Barker sustained a horrific knee injury during his time at Derby and his five appearances for Burton Albion this season are his first professional caps since the injury back in 2012.

He has played a key part in securing vital points for the Brewers this season, but admits he would have liked to play more minutes if his knee had allowed him to: “It’s hard, I have only played a couple of times for the u21s and I’ve only played 45 minutes in both.

“When I’m on the pitch I feel fine but I’ve had a little reaction both times I’ve done that so we’ve stepped back and said the most important thing is that I’m available for games on Saturday and Tuesday if the gaffer needs me.

“Physically I honestly don’t feel any different to when I was 24/25 and if I hadn’t occurred this injury I think I could have played until I was 40 comfortably because naturally I’m fit enough to play at centre-half, as long as you can head it and kick it you’ve got every chance of continuing playing football.”

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