Dave Artell has praised the returning George Ray after producting a sterling performance at Lincoln City to help the Alex to a 4-1 victory after ten months out injured.
The boss said he knew his skipper was ready for a return after a confident final 'warm-up' performance for the Under 23's at Birmingham City the previous Monday.
Artell said: “If your important players down the spine of your team are missing for an extended period of time, then you’re not going to get the results that you should.
“George has come back in looked like he’d been there for 30 years. He was calm, composed and effective.
“I also have to say that Eddie alongside him was terrific as well. The stats tell us that he won more headers in the game that anyone else on the pitch.
“Me and George had a chat two weeks ago, and we both felt that he needed another game. Could we have played him against Exeter? Maybe. But we didn’t want any seed of doubt in his mind after ten months out.
“He got that valuable 90 minutes in the Under 23’s at Birmingham the night before and that extra game suddenly made all the difference for him to build up to the Lincoln game.
“The fact of the matter is, we got him back for the weekend’s game and he was terrific.”