Blackpool boss Gary Bowyer is delighted to welcome back club captain Danny Pugh, admitting the midfielder was missed during six weeks on the sidelines.
The veteran returned to play a leading role in the 4-2 win against Doncaster last weekend – his first appearance since the 3-2 defeat at Colchester on September 10.
And Pugh drew special praise from his manager, who said: “Danny was terrific for us after being out for a few weeks.
“We’ve missed his leadership in there and I thought he managed the game ever so well for us.
“There was no plan whether or not we were going to take him off.
“We tried communicating with him a couple of times to see if he was OK.
“But you try telling him he’s coming off! There was no way.”
Pugh, who turned 34 last week and has played around 300 League games, had missed the previous seven matches with bone bruising.
But he fitted seamlessly into the team, showing impressive determination and grit to lead the Seasiders to a priceless three points.
He was backed up by midfield partner Jack Payne, forming an impenetrable pairing who pressed high up the pitch.
Another man to earn Bowyer’s praise was goalkeeper Sam Slocombe, who saved a late penalty from Danny Rowe at a time when Doncaster were looking to get back into the game.
It was the second of two Rowe penalties the Pool number one faced at Bloomfield Road last Saturday, a week after coming so close to saving Romuald Boco’s equalising spot-kick for Accrington at Wham Stadium.
Bowyer added: “Sam was angry with himself when he didn’t save the one at Accrington because he got a good hand on it.
“But he won the battle of the minds against Doncaster. He went the right way again and he got there.”
Rovers slipped a place to third in League Two following the defeat, which Bowyer says proved his side can compete with the best the division has to offer.
He said: “There’s a good character and spirit in the dressing room.
“With the performances we’ve had this season, we feel we deserved more points on the board.
“But we’ve not been feeling sorry for ourselves and that was evident against Doncaster.
“We’ve shown here at home against Carlisle, Plymouth Portsmouth and Doncaster, who are all up there, that we can compete with them. Now we need to find some consistency and put some runs together.”