Banbury United boss Mike Ford was full of praise for club captain Andy Gunn who made his return at Slough Town on Tuesday.
Gunn has been out of the starting line-up in recent weeks but turned down a seven-day-approach to stay at the Banbury Plant Hire Community Stadium.
The club captain, who led the Puritans to promotion last season, returned with a sterling defensive display at Slough, replacing Ricky Johnson who was carrying a slight injury, but could not help the Puritans get anything from the game.
Ford said: “We’ve got three home games coming up and I didn’t want to risk Ricky Johnson and then lose him for a longer period. I could have put him on near the end but I don’t think that would have been good management.
“I want Ricky fit for Saturday and Andy Gunn was tremendous at Slough. I didn’t give him his place back, I could have put Jack Westbrook in.
“But Andy earned it because he’s been excellent in training while he’s been out of the side.”
Gunn is one of the more experienced players in United’s squad and Ford feels his younger players are lacking the maturity needed to win games.
He said: “Because the players are so young, like Luke Carnell who is playing at this level for the first time, I don’t think the players know how to win a game of football at the moment.
“We’ve played 21 games and we’re nearly halfway through the season.
“I know we’ve got three home games coming up but all I’m interested in is training on Thursday and preparing the players for Saturday’s game.”