Paul Dickov put his Bolton disappointment to one side to pay tribute to Chris Brown - after revealing the striker “begged” for a recall to the squad.
Brown had not been expected to return to full training until this week but was a surprise second half replacement for Mark Duffy at the Reebok.
The 28-year-old’s faster than expected recovery from a twisted ankle at least put half a smile on Dickov’s face after Saturday’s 3-0 defeat - a display Dickov said left him feeling hurt.
“It was a massive bonus getting Browny back,” said Dickov.
“If you’re talking about players who deserve credit, Browny came to see me on Friday and begged for me to put him on the bench. That’s the sort of attitude you want.
“There was no plan for him to be involved but he joined in a little bit last Thursday and had a really tough session on Friday. He came to me after that.
“We thought it might be too soon but he was adamant he was okay.
“The biggest frustration is we know we can play a lot better,” Dickov reflected on Saturday’s defeat.
“I can’t keep building them up as the manager for them to let themselves down again.
“I work with them every day - I know they’re a determined bunch that work hard.
“I want them to do well so performances like that hurt me and it hurts the players.”