Clive Allen reserved praise for the performance and application of Dean Richards in the central defender's reserve return on Monday evening.
Deano made his comeback against Norwich at Stevenage following an absence due to a virus that affected his ears and produced a solid display, leading a young team to a 2-0 victory. The problem prevented Dean from contact and heading in training sessions.
"It was important for Dean, we weren't sure how long he was going to play," Clive reflected. "The plan was get as long as we could and, mentally, it is important for him.
"I said to him at half-time that the first two balls came out of the sky with snow on. He had to head them and he dealt with it.
"He led the team very well, he showed again that he is an excellent professional and I think all the young lads responded to him."
The challenge for Dean now is to reach a level of performance that will give Jacques Santini a selection dilemma.
"They've all got that problem - that is the challenge they all face and that is what you want at a successful football club," added Clive.
"We want a reserve team that is going well and can hopefully stay unbeaten for as long as possible. You want competition for places running right throughout the club.
"I think this bodes well for the future."