Onward Christian

Christian Dailly is wondering if he can possibly make it through another season as an ever-present.

He managed to do just that in his first full campaign at the club, of course, but the notion is almost unheard of in the top flight these days (Matt Holland at Ipswich and Wayne Bridge at Southampton notwithstanding in recent seasons).

Christian is understandably proud of the achievement, not least because he had his critics early on, but he says: "It was great; I am so pleased to have gone all through the season.

"It is a fabulous feeling to have played every game because it it makes all the extra stuff I do away from training all worthwhile in terms of looking after myself.

"I do loads of things such as stretch work for 40 minutes after a training session, and lots of extra with John McCarthy.

"He has been absolutely brilliant, not just for me but for all the lads.

"It is very time consuming and it can do your head in a little bit at times, but it makes it all worthwhile when you can do it."

With pre-season stepping up a gear, he admits he never really stopped in the summer.

"I carried on ticking over in the summer. You have to these days because the level you have got to get to in terms of fitness dictates that," he says.

"If you let yourself go too much the jump is too big when you come back and you either end up getting injured or not being in good enough physical shape to start the season because there is not enough time.

"So every player, in the main, keeps on ticking over, even if you don't do too much."

There is certainly no rest for the wicked, and he adds: "It is a long season again; I know myself that the last Scotland game is the 12th June."