The central defender has missed four matches since the Charlton game on December 28 - a game in which he suffered a number of knocks and bumps including a calf tear. He is now on the way back to full fitness and has resumed training.
His replacement Gary Doherty has shone in the team during our upward turn - a four-game winning run without him that has been mentioned in passing!
"Yes, just a few times..." smiled Deano.
"Obviously the lads have gone on a good run and are playing very well. It doesn't matter to me, I'm just pleased to see that we are winning and climbing the table.
"It is not about individuals, it is about the team and that's what comes first. I'm delighted with the way things have gone."
A particular positive for Dean is the fact that he will be seeking to fight his way back into a confident team, rather than being hurried back into one struggling for results.
"Definitely, I've been rushed back from injuries before at Southampton and sometimes here. When things haven't been going too well I have come back and been a bit short.
"It is to my advantage too now, I can make sure that I am 100 per cent right and there is no rush to get me back."
Meanwhile, Dean agrees that the 'Ant 'n' Doc partnership is flourishing and getting stronger with each game.
"Doc has come in and done great, he has taken his chance and I thought they were both outstanding against Liverpool on Saturday.
There is no rush for me to come back - they haven't missed me at all. The lads have been playing so well and I pleased for them.
"Everybody has got a spring in their step and you can see that the confidence is starting to come back. Everyone seems so much happier and life is so much easier when you are winning games."
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Dean Richards concedes that the 2004 winning streak coinciding with his absence has been pointed out to him once or twice.