CLUB legend Steve Fletcher accepts he has a diminishing playing role for Cherries but he has told the doubters: “I have still got the heart.”
Cherries’ record appearance-maker has indicated he wants to continue his distinguished career for as long as he can make a positive contribution.
The veteran targetman remains an influential figure at Dean Court and he has made nine substitute appearances during the current campaign.
Fletcher, whose contract expires this summer, admits he is aware some people have suggested that it could be time to hang up his boots.
However, the ex-Chesterfield and Crawley frontman says it would be heartbreaking to throw in the towel on his time in the red and black.
He told the Daily Echo: “I am not going to turn round and say I don’t want to play for AFC Bournemouth – that would break my heart. Just to be in and around the squad, I am happy with that at the moment.
“I know there are people out there saying ‘just retire Fletch’ but they are not in my position and don’t understand what it has been like for 24 years of being a professional.
“I know I am not quick but it is not as if I can’t move! I am not disgracing myself in training and, when I have come on a few times, I have done okay.
“I know it is only 10 minutes here or two minutes there but I have still got the heart, desire and drive to be a worthy part of this squad.
“I know my limitations and I know what my role at the club and in the squad is now, and I accept it. I will do everything right just for the one instance when Eddie might call on me. While I still think I can at least play that type of role, I want to keep going.”
Fletcher, involved in ambas sadorial work with Cherries, revealed he had discussed his future with chairman Eddie Mitchell and manager Howe.
He added: “I know I am 40 years of age and that I am only going to play 10, 15 or 20 minutes maximum here and there at this present time, but that is down to how good the squad is.
“Eddie has called on me on a few occasions and I have just got to make sure I am ready when he does.
“As for the future, we will wait and see.
Age is a big thing. For me, it is just a number but for other people looking on, I can understand they are going to turn round and say ‘he is old, he is 40 and coming up to 41’.
“But I haven’t changed that much in the past few years. I haven’t had much game-time but I do my running after the game, I do my running on a Tuesday and I do extra two or three times a week. I keep myself right.”
- Cherries striker Jayden Stockley has extended his loan at Woking until the end of the season, the Conference club has confirmed.
The homegrown frontman has so far netted five goals during his time with the Kingfield Stadium outfit.
Writing on his Twitter feed, Stockley said Woking was a “great place to play football”.