Ian Craney is determined to play in Accrington Stanley’s game at Burton this weekend – but not if it jeopardises his chances of playing a part in the play-offs.
The midfielder missed last weekend’s win over Barnet which secured fifth spot for the Reds with a hamstring problem and admits his desire to get out on the pitch cost him.
"I shouldn’t have really played against Shrewsbury to be honest," he confessed. "I should have had a rest. I did it against Bradford and felt it in the first few minutes at Shrewsbury but carried on, being silly, and probably made it worse.
"I’ve done some running this week so fingers crossed I should be alright for Saturday."
Stanley go to the Pirelli Stadium knowing that win, lose or draw they’ll finish fifth in League Two and face Torquay, Stevenage or Gillingham in the play-off semi-finals and Craney has that in mind as he continues his recovery.
"The gaffer’s been saying to me that the game on Saturday is not that important, so would it be worth risking it and being out for two weeks or missing the game, keeping ticking over and getting my fitness levels back up.
"It depends how I feel and how the gaffer thinks I look. We’ll see what happens.
"I missed Morecambe’s play-off campaign last season through injury, but this would be worse because I’ve played a good part in this one.
"It would be even more frustrating. I’m one of the experienced players now and I’ve got to use that experience."
Despite the situation with the league table, the 28-year-old doesn’t subscribe to the idea that the pressure will be off in a dead rubber against the Brewers.
With the Crown Ground outfit unbeaten in their last 12 games, continuing that run is a priority.
"I think it’d be hard to pick ourselves up if our unbeaten run ended at Burton," explained Craney.
"That’s why everyone’s got to stay focused and try to win the game.
"If we go and give an under-par performance and lose two or three nil it’ll rub off on the next couple of games and dampen the mood. We’ve got to go there and try to win – and I think we can."
And nobody wants to be around boss John Coleman should the result go against them in the Midlands.
"The gaffer’s like me and most of the lads. He hates losing.
"Even if he was playing snakes and ladders he’d still hate to lose. When he loses, you know about it," he added.
"He won’t be happy going to Burton and even getting a draw. He’ll want to win."
With just over a week until the first leg of the play-off game, attention is inevitably being diverted towards that tie, but Craney dismisses talk of the final game of the regular league season being any kind of distraction.
"If someone had said at the start of the season that we’d be in the play-offs with a game to go I would have thought that they were drunk.
"It’s fantastic for the team and the club but we’re not resting on our laurels.
"We’re thinking ‘let’s go and win it.’ We believe in each other and we’re not thinking that we’ve achieved a play-off place and that’s enough.
"It’s not. We want to go up. Fingers crossed we can."