The towering central defender did not feature in any pre-season games due to his Achilles problem and only returned to action last Tuesday for the reserves against Portsmouth.
He claimed after the encounter at Havant and Waterlooville that he would need more time before making a first team return, but did not need too much persuading when asked to turn out against Leeds.
"I was being honest when I said I felt I needed another game and that was the case," reflected Dean. "The manager called me in on Thursday morning and said that, with the likes of Viduka and Smith being strong boys, he could do with me playing.
"I said I would try and play and it has worked out alright," he added, before joking that he should have his own personal pre-season pre-season programme.
"I felt good, next year I'm going to ask to come back a week before the season starts and have a few more weeks off in the summer!
"I felt fine, but Ledley and Anthony were different class alongside me and that helped.
"It will be a different test against Liverpool on Wednesday and I'm not sure what the manager's plans will be. I was pleased here with the performance, it was great.
"We switched off once and got punished - that's the way it is in this league. It was a bad goal from our point of view, but we showed great character and great spirit to come back.
"We were cutting in and getting behind them a bit more in the second half. I thought the boys looked fit and we caused them a few problems."
Dean Richards said that the superb performances of Anthony Gardner and Ledley King helped him ease back into Premiership action against Leeds.