Darius Charles says the feeling of scoring the winner against Sunderland is nothing compared to the satisfaction of representing the Chairboys week in, week out, after battling back from the brink of retirement to prolong his playing career.
The defender was advised to quit the game this summer as a result of an ongoing battle with a hip problem, but he was given the opportunity to prove his fitness to Gareth Ainsworth and the staff over the summer, and has rewarded that faith in some style with a series of outstanding performances and Saturday’s winning goal.
“It feels absolutely incredible, I won’t lie!”, he said. “But I’m more happy that we won the game, and that we got the clean sheet, and any way that I can add to this team is a blessing for me.
“For me, I take things day by day, and I’m grateful for every moment. I love training, and coming out here at Adams Park to grace this pitch. I don’t get too ahead of myself; I take things one day at a time, because at any given moment I may not be able to do it again. I’m grateful for today, and tomorrow I’ll be grateful for something else.”
It’s at Adams Park where Wanderers have excelled so far this season, taking their unbeaten home record to eight wins in 10 since Charlton were the last visiting team to win in south Bucks in April, and Charles feels the team’s confidence on home turf helped to quash Sunderland’s hopes of making a winning start under new boss Phil Parkinson.
“They came here with a presence, and I just wanted to let them know that this is our house, so you play by our rules. This is Wycombe, at Adams Park, and we are who we are. We’re second in the league, so respect us.
“We continue to work hard, focus, and stay humble, and who knows where that dedication and determination can take us. Let’s make no bones about it, our remit is to finish above where we did last year, but after that – who knows?”