Darren Pratley has insisted he will keep playing “until the wheels come off” and has no plans to retire once his current Charlton contract expires.

The 34-year-old, who turns 35 on April 22, has been one of the Addicks’ most consistent performers during an injury-plagued campaign back in the Championship.

He has also taken the captain’s armband in the absence of first and second choices, Jason Pearce and Chris Solly, which underlines manager Lee Bowyer’s trust in the veteran midfielder.

Despite racking up the fourth-most league minutes played, behind Dillon Phillips, Tom Lockyer and the now-departed Conor Gallagher, Pratley shows no signs of slowing down.

He said: “It's tough [but] I'll play until the wheels come off.

“I'm still probably one of the fittest in the team, if not the fittest. I probably cover the most ground every game, I think Conor and [Josh] Cullen, when he plays, are up there as well.

“They say people over 30 or whatever, 'Can he keep going?', you want to play as many games as you can. I spoke to [assistant manager] Johnnie Jackson not too long ago and if he had one more game then he would have got 500 career games. He got 499.

“Just because I'm 34, even when my contract runs out I'm not looking to retire. I'm looking to play for as long as I can.”

At Preston, Pratley captained a young Charlton side that, at full-time, comprised four players who were aged 20 and under.

He admitted the current environment is a tough one for them to be in, but believes the experience will be beneficial to them in the long run.

Pratley added: “It is hard for the young boys, especially when you're coming into a team that's not really on a great run of winning games. It's not the best situation for them to be put in.

“I think you could see on 60, 70 minutes some of the boys were cramping up. They have never played at this intensity before so it's hard, but they've been terrific since they have come in. They will go on and have good careers.

“This is probably a good learning curve for them [… but] this is where you get really tested, when you’re losing games. It’ll be a good test for them in the long run but I’m sure the manager would want a few more bodies in.

“We need a few more bodies in, there’s no secret behind it.”