Richard Shaw might be counting down the games to the climax of his career, but Coventry City manager Micky Adams is certain to wheel out the 37-year-old for his fifth fixture within a fortnight in Saturday's FA Cup clash at Brighton.
The central defender, who is in his testimonial year with the Sky Blues, was only expecting to play a bit-part role this season, but he has risen to the challenge and earned lavish accolades from Adams.
Both Shaw and Ady Williams, who was making his first Coventry appearance in four months during the 2-0 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Monday, were expected to play second fiddle to Rob Page and Matt Heath this term.
But with Page sidelined until the middle of February with a fractured cheekbone and Heath dropped to the bench, the duo lined up together with a combined age of 71.
It was Shaw's fourth game in eight days and his stickability was an enormous plus point, as far as Adams was concerned.
Adams, who is facing renewed interest from Sheffield United for striker Dele Adebola, had intimated prior to Christmas that he might have to rest his long-serving centre-back with the crammed fixture schedule.
"Richard is getting on in years and whilst he wouldn't agree with stepping out of the team, he might have to have a rest," said Adams.
"We will have to monitor him, as the Christmas programme is a heavy burden on most youthful, virile players not an ageing old-timer whose legs may, or may not have gone!"
However, Adams was the first to admit that Shaw's energetic performances had put many of his contemporaries to shame.
"I thought Richard was magnificent against Wolves," continued Adams.
"We have seen all these foreign players moaning about the amount of games being played over Christmas and I can understand that to a degree, but when you are 37 years old and have played three-and-a-half games in eight days, it speaks volumes for the man."
Adams was also gushing in his praise of Shaw's defensive cohort Williams.
Williams' last league appearance for Coventry was against Burnley back on August 13 and he had spent three months in the wilderness on loan at Millwall.
The former Wolves centre-half admitted that his recall came out of the blue. "I was so convinced that I wasn't playing that I brought my coat," he quipped.
"I was expecting to watch from the stands, but I was delighted to get my chance."
Adams admitted that it was circumstance that forced his hand with Williams, but was adamant he was still part of his plans.
"After that performance I think Ady has put himself back in the picture," added Adams.
"Ady has not had too many starts this season but I felt his experience would be valuable to us against a good side.
"But I never rule people out of anything. They dictate how they are going to do by performances and if I get performances out of players then, nine times out of ten, I stick with them."
With Stern John also making his first appearances over the Christmas period for four months, and a loan spell at Derby, then it looks as though Adams is going to fully utilise his squad for the remainder of the campaign.
After the FA Cup trip to Brighton, Coventry then face a testing trip to runaway league leaders Reading.
However, they are now seven points clear of the drop zone and only nine points shy of the play-off zone, which means Adams can look forward to 2006 with a degree of optimism.