Paul Dickov admits Jamie McCombe thought he was mad after naming him in the side to face York on Tuesday night.
The towering centre half has had a nightmare year due to a spinal injury which left him unable to even take part in light training.
McCombe managed to return to action as a substitute for two games at the end of last season only for the problem to re-flare up over the summer.
The 31-year-old only returned to full training last week but was thrown straight into the deep end by being named as a starter in Tuesday’s Capital One Cup clash.
And Dickov was pleased with his educated gamble.
“We’re all absolutely delighted for Jamie,” Dickov said.
“I don’t think he expected to play at York after doing a bit of light training on Friday and Monday.
“We were going to try and arrange a game for him to get some minutes but we made the decision we already had a game lined up for him.
“So we chucked him in at the deep end and I thought he was magnificent.
“He’s such a good lad, a top, top pro and everyone is delighted for him.
“I spoke to him on Monday about it and I think he thought I was off my head, which is probably right.
“At the same time, if we’re going to arrange a game for him on Wednesday where he’d get 90 minutes, why not play him against York?”