Boltons Finnish stopper Jussi Jaaskelainen is set to make his 500th Bolton Wanderers appearance this weekend against Birmingham City in the FA Cup quarter final.
35 year-old Jaaskelainen has been a rock at the back of Bolton’s defence for 14 years now, after moving to the club as a 21 year old for £100,000 from Finland.
The move, which could be one of the best value signings in Premier League history has seen Jaaskelainen go on to emulate Nat Lofthouse, Paul Jones, Ted Vizard, Roy Hartle, Eddie Hopkinson, Alec Finney and Roy Greaves in achieving the milestone for Bolton Wanderers.
Talking about the achievement, the Finn admitted it hadn’t yet sunk in.
“I’m obviously really glad to make that number of appearances but I always say it’s really hard when you’re in the moment to really appreciate it,” he said.
“As soon as I finish a game, I am right back on to prepare for the next one, so you don’t really see the numbers stacking up.
“Of course, it’s a great honour to get to this stage and look at the other players who have done it but I haven’t been able to think about it much. Maybe it’s something I will do when I retire.”
Despite being 35 years old, Jasskelainen has no plans of retiring yet, and believes he can play on into his 40s.
“You see players and keepers going on right through their 30s and into their 40s and if I can keep injury-free, I think I can do that too,” he said.
“Right now I feel 100 per cent fit, I’m right there for every training session. You learn with experience down the years what you need to do to keep yourself going and keep yourself focused.
“You have to do the right things, not only on the training ground but also away from football, at home.
“You also need the right people behind you – and we have some top guys advising us and making sure that we go the right way.”