JONATHAN PATERSON insists he and the GB team are ready to live up to the London 2012 weight of expectation and claim an unlikely Paralympic medal.
The Motherwell footballer led the seven-a-side cerebral palsy squad to seventh place at the Beijing Games four years ago, but he believes this year’s squad are far better.
The 24-year-old is one of three players retained from China amid an injection of young talent to the squad.
Paterson’s re-selection seemed a long way off when he was sidelined for three months last year with a broken foot.
As a result the midfielder is revelling in the build-up to his second Games which kick off this week.
He said: “There’s a lot more expectation this time, but we think we’ve improved enough to live up to it.
“A lot of younger guys have come through and done really well.
“I’m really happy to be here. I broke my foot last year and was out for almost three months, so I started playing again only at the turn of the year.
“We spent a week training in Portugal in July. We worked on a lot of things and we know what we have to do now for the competition.
“We know we can score against anyone, so it’s just about keeping it tight defensively.”
Paterson and co have been handed a tough group as they face Brazil, world and Olympic champions Ukraine and the USA. In some ways they are fighting a losing battle with the top four teams in the world operating as semi-professionals.
However, with the GB squad set to be cheered on by bumper crowds, Paterson insists he and the team have left no stone unturned in their bid to spring an upset.
He said: “We’ve had a lot more time to train together as a squad than we did before Beijing and that can only help.
“In the last few days before the Games it’s about analysing the other teams and working on our weaknesses. We’ll be watching a lot of DVDs.”
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