Deano has been struggling since pre-season with inner ear problems that have affected his balance, a setback that was compounded by the discovery of an abnormality showing up on a scan that sparked fears of a tumour.
The likelihood of this, as the defender revealed recently, is extremely low and after a good spell of training he was ready to launch his playing return in put in a solid performance as the experienced head in a young reserve side that turned out at Broadhall Way.
"I think Deano has got to be praised and praised highly," considered Clive after the game. "I see him working day to day with the young players and he's been the ultimate professional.
"Obviously he has had fears, I spoke to him before the game and asked if he was apprehensive, he said no, he wanted to play and was really looking forward to it.
"You saw out there why he has been a top professional and he is still a top professional. Credit to him, to play in the manner he did in a game that was difficult for everybody. He wanted to play and I thought he acquitted himself fantastically.
"He is great to have with us, with the way he goes about his work and the way he plays and trains. He doesn't get too excited, he doesn't get down and is very even tempered. It is a great example for the young players."
Clive Allen paid tribute to Dean Richards after the big central defender completed 90 minutes for the reserves against Fulham after a prolonged absence.