Marcos Painter insists he did not play through the pain barrier to chase a new Pompey deal.
The experienced left-back made a miraculous recovery to play 90 minutes of the 0-0 draw with Northampton after limping off with what appeared to be a hamstring strain against Dagenham & Redbridge on Boxing Day.
But the 27-year-old was fit to start and turned in an assured display, which will boost his hopes of earning a new contract when his current deal expires on January 14.
Painter said: ‘I felt something in my hamstring but I saw the physios and a specialist, who is a friend of mine.
‘Thankfully it improved very quickly.
‘He checked me over and it was decided I was okay to play.
‘I came off against Dagenham & Redbridge but it was a precaution more than anything else.
‘So many times in the past, I have carried on and done more damage.
‘But I was pleased to play 90 minutes.
‘It was a big worry at the time. You don’t want to be out and I just don’t want to miss games at all.
‘I’m aware of my contract situation but I don’t think about it too much so that wasn’t anything to do with it.
‘I don’t look at it as though I have to perform in this game because my contract is up. I give my best in every game.
‘I just try not to let those things distract me.
‘If you are performing on the pitch, contracts take care of themselves.
‘I want to help the club push up the league.
‘So I know if I do well on the pitch, my contract will take care of itself.
‘But I would love to stay – that’s why I signed for the club in the first place.’
Painter’s Pompey spell has been blighted by injury as he has suffered with a calf problem since arriving in August.
But he feels his fitness is improving after returning to the side recently.
He said: ‘I’ve got to stay fit but it’s a bit unfortunate that I missed pre-season and joined later than the rest of the lads.
‘You are at a slight disadvantage where you haven’t had the same pre-season but the new manager has increased the intensity of training sessions and that will help us as a team.
‘I feel we are improving as a defensive unit but we’ve got to continue to do that.’
– STEVE WILSON