Date: 4th May 2007 at 12:55pm
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Chris Clark has played in every match Aberdeen have had this season and it`s now beginning to take its toll.

lark suffers from periostitis, commonly called shin splints, which is made worse at this time of the year as pitches naturally receive less moisture and the heavy impact of the season`s labour builds up causing Clark annual pain in his shins.

lark knows that the only cure is rest but he`s having none of it as he remains determined to see his team qualify for Europe and keep his 100% ever present record.

But that`s not to say he isn`t looking forward to giving his aching bones some rest.

lark said, ‘I’m looking forward to the summer break, but there are some big games coming up, especially the one at the weekend. I don’t feel too bad at all – when you get to this stage of the season the fitness levels are good, so the manager can think about cutting training. I’ve played a lot of games over the last few years but I’m not complaining.’

‘When you get to the last few weeks of the season you tend to pick up niggles. I’ve always had a problem at this time of year, when the ground gets harder. Since my youth team days, I’ve suffered from shin splints. It is more of a problem in the afternoons and evenings at home. That is when it starts hurting. I get sharp pains and aches but I ice them before and after training.

‘I’ve had it for about eight years, I’ve been told there’s no cure for it. It doesn’t really impact on me in games. You forget about the discomfort once you get into the games.’

Chris is confident after last weeks Kilmarnock demolition job in which he won a penalty for his team and motored up and down the pitch all day getting involved in hard tackles and clever moves as he has been all season, making him worthy of his guaranteed place.

He said, ‘We produced a good performance and result against Kilmarnock last weekend, so everyone is confident. We’ve played well at Tynecastle recently and especially against them the last time they came to Pittodrie.

‘We’re not over-confident because Hearts are coming off a good result against Celtic. It won’t be easy and I’m not surprised they have come back with some great results after a bad spell in the middle of the season. They’ve had some good results recently and were unlucky at Ibrox.

‘We’ll concentrate on how we’ve been playing and what we are capable of. Regardless of what happens we will still be ahead of them in the league, but it’s important we go to Hearts to win the game because we’ve got more tough games after this one.

‘We will bring down a great support again, which has been a big factor the last couple of times we’ve been at Tynecastle, and everyone is looking forward to it. We don’t fear going anywhere.’

Chris is one of only a handful of Dons boys to have sampled the European occasions and admits that he`s surprised the club has not been involved in more.

I played in the first leg of the Bohemians tie in 2000 as a substitute and also against Nistru Otaci a couple of years later when I played in the home game and was on the bench in Moldova.

‘I didn’t think we would be out of Europe for so long, although we were unlucky in the manager’s first year at Aberdeen when we just missed out. That was hard to take and everyone is keen to make up for it now.

‘It has been a squad effort this season and I think we deserve the reward of a European place. It would be hard to take if we didn’t win one especially given the position we’ve been in all season. We have played really well, been consistent and had big results when we’ve needed them. The manager has told us he thinks we deserve it but we have to prove him right.’

Absolutely Chris and after all Hearts have been through this season, no doubt they`ll believe that they merit the last UEFA place too.