Andy Peaks believes Liam Dolman will play through the pain for the AFC Rushden & Diamonds cause this weekend.
Dolman missed Tuesday’s 2-0 home defeat to fellow Evo-Stik Northern Premier League Division One South play-off contenders Stocksbridge Park Steels on Tuesday night due to a calf problem.
The influential central defender has been struggling with the niggling injury for most of the season but has continued to be a key figure in Diamonds’ push for a top-five finish.
His efforts were rewarded last weekend when he was named in the division’s team of the year at the NPL awards evening.
Boss Peaks is expecting Dolman to return for the home clash with another of Diamonds’ play-off rivals, Newcastle Town, on Saturday.
And he paid a glowing tribute to the man he says is always the “first name on the team sheet”.
“I am pretty confident that Liam will play on Saturday,” Peaks said.
“I spoke to him on Tuesday, he knows how important the game is and I expect him to play through the pain barrier for us.
“Everyone knows how important he is to us and that was shown by the fact he was named in the team of the year for the division last weekend.
“He has played games while not being 100 per cent this season but he is always the first name on the team sheet and that tells you everything you need to know.
“He has been fantastic in the three years he’s been here.
“He likes the club, he’s on board with what we are trying to do here.
“I can’t speak highly enough about him both on and off the pitch.
“He’s a great ambassador for the club and he wears his heart on his sleeve.”
Peaks was also without Brad Harris and Ollie Brown-Hill on Tuesday night but both are expected to be back in the fold this weekend.