If you want proof of that old saying, 'the football season's a marathon, not a sprint,' look no further than Graham Alexander. The Burnley defender has in the current campaign played more - far more - football than any other player in the English league system.

The Clarets have played 51 League and Cup games to date, more than any other club (Manchester United come closest with 49) and right back Alexander has played every minute of every game - including three lots of extra time in Cup ties.

That means the 37 year-old Scottish international has seen a massive 4,680 minutes (and lots off stoppage time) of action in the shirt of the Coca-Cola Championship promotion chasers - plus four games for his country!

Compare that run of games to, say, Manchester United's Nemanja Vidic - who with 40 appearances (three as substitute) has played more games than any of his club colleagues - and Alexander truly is the undisputed marathon man.

That's absolutely fine by the former Scunthorpe United, Luton Town and Preston North End player, who despite being one of the oldest players in the Burnley squad is loving every minute of his match-packed season.

"It's been a fantastic season," says Alexander, "and I've not wanted to miss any of it. I've been fortunate to play in every game so far, but it's not just the matches that have been enjoyable it's been the training as well.

"With the games coming thick and fast our training sessions have been short and sharp to keep us fresh for each match as it comes along, and if you come to watch us you'll certainly notice the zip in our play.

"My age is not an issue. I always say judge me on my performances and in training, not on my date of birth. Our gaffer (manager Owen Coyle) played into his 40's so he's of the same mind and he's been brilliant this season.

"He's a winner and he's instilled that mentality into every player in the squad. We've probably used fewer players than any other club this season, and in a sense that's helped because the spirit and mental strength within the squad has been tremendous."

Burnley's mental strength has helped handle a gruelling schedule that has seen them win Cup matches against Premiership clubs Fulham, Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and West Bromwich Albion as well as keep themselves in the promotion hunt.

Now out of both the Carling and FA Cups and so focused totally on their promotion bid, the Clarets have a further seven Championship games remaining plus another three should they qualify for and then reach the final of the Play-Offs.

That's potentially another 900 minutes of football for Alexander to play as he looks to help the Turf Moor club reach the top flight for what would be the first time since their relegation at the end of the 1975-76 campaign.

The experienced defender says: "I'd love to play in the rest of our games and obviously, we're all hoping it won't just be seven matches but 10 including the Play-Off final. But I'm far more concerned about getting us promoted than playing in every game.

"Getting Burnley into the Premiership would be a fantastic achievement at the end of a fantastic season. It's going to be very, very tough and we've got seven massive League games coming up. But I believe we've got the squad and the management to do it."

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