Date:Sunday March 18 2007
Ian Breckin carries more than one scar from his 599 senior appearances to date.
And ahead of his 600th this afternoon the Nottingham Forest captain, aged 32, has urged his team-mates to risk all in their bid to win promotion.
Bristol City's defeat to Bradford on Tuesday has put Colin Calderwood's team right back in the hunt for the automatic promotion places - and Breckin insists Forest's young players will regret it if they let the chance pass them by.
'I've got experience and some of the other lads have,' he said. 'To get promotion is a big achievement, because it doesn't come around that often.
'Some of the young lads in there have got to grasp it with both hands.
'I just keep telling them that it is even better than you expect it to be.
'There's only nine games to go - everyone is feeling tired and weary. But, for the sake of nine more games, it's worth putting your body on the line to get some silverware.
'It doesn't matter about performances, it's all about the result and we will be desperate to get those six points.'
You suspect Breckin will celebrate his milestone somewhat less vociferously than Bristol's 3-2 defeat in midweek.
And he clearly believes Forest have been given a second bite of the automatic promotion cherry - particularly given two winnable games at the City Ground against Gillingham and Cheltenham before facing Bristol at Ashton Gate.
'We had a good result on Tuesday night and it's wide open again,' he said. 'It's given us a massive lift.
'Now we've got two home games and are hoping to get two wins.
'It could have been a seven-point gap and to all intents and purposes it could have all been over.
'But four points is nothing. We've still got to go to Bristol and on paper they've got a harder run in so it's all to play for.
'If we win as many games as we can that's our job done. We've just got to try not to slip up between now and the end of the season.
'We've been inconsistent since Christmas and you need to put a good string of results together like Scunthorpe, who find themselves sitting pretty at the moment.
'Every game is a must-win game now. There are nine games left and we must be looking to win as many as we can.
'If not all of them, then at least seven or eight to give us a really good chance.
'These two home games are a great way to start.'
Victory against Gillingham would be a perfect way to celebrate his 600th appearance - but Breckin has his eye on a bigger prize.
'I'm trying to enjoy the last two or three years and, if we can get promotion, it would be a massive achievement for everyone,' he said.
'On a personal level, 600 appearances is something I've been looking to get and I want to get as many games as I can under my belt before I hang up my boots.
'It's a good achievement for me and I'm proud of it. Hopefully I've got three or four years ahead of me yet. But your football career goes so fast - I've told the younger lads that, as well.'
Nottingham Evening Post
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