SIMON Eastwood is determined to play through the pain in Oxford United’s final two games to preserve his ever-present status this season.
On Easter Monday the goalkeeper became the first player to start 60 games for the club in a single season for more than three decades.
Only six men had reached the feat in United’s history, but Eastwood has his heart set on fulfilling his pre-season vow of playing every minute in the campaign, which he would rate as one of the best achievements in his career.
And while the run has been threatened by a shoulder issue in recent weeks, the No 1 has no intention of allowing deputy Jack Stevens a chance in the remaining fixtures with Millwall and Shrewsbury Town.
He said: “I set out to do it before the start of the season.
“It’s something everybody says, but to actually go out and do it would be a really good achievement.
“I’ve come so far now. I feel a bit sorry for Jack, but trust me in my career I’ve been in his position enough times.”
The good news for Eastwood, who kept his 20th clean sheet of the season in the 2-0 win against Port Vale, is the shoulder problem will not get worse by playing on.
He said: “I could do with a couple of months off and it’s not too far away now.
“It’s just my bicep, every time I stretch it’s quite sore, but I can handle it.
“I’ve spoken to the physio and if you give it a rest, it should go.
“Playing is not going to do any further damage, which is good, so I can play through the pain.
“I just have to get through it.”
U’s boss Michael Appleton admitted he had doubts about Eastwood’s ever-present target, but has since changed his mind.
He said: “When I spoke to him in the summer I probably didn’t think that was the right thing to do, but as the season has wore on I think it was right to play him in all the competitions.”