Paul Simpson has heaped praise on Corey Whelan after he stepped up to the Carlisle United side at short notice – and saved the Blues a point.
Whelan was called into the XI at Newport County after Morgan Feeney was injured in the warm-up.
The defender went on to score Carlisle’s equaliser in the 1-1 draw.
It was the former Liverpool man’s first goal for the Blues, and only his second goal in the Football League.
Simpson has often praised the 24-year-old’s professionalism and said events at Rodney Parade were a well-deserved reward.
“You’ve got to be ready,” the Blues manager said.
“It’s a massive blow to lose Morgan before we kick off, but thankfully we’ve got Corey who is up to speed and he stepped straight into it.
“He’s been really good for me since the first day of pre-season. I had no hesitation to stick him in and he gets his reward.”
Whelan pounced to score in the 76th minute following a Callum Guy corner at Newport.
And Simpson said the defender is a good example of being ready to do the job at a moment’s notice.
“I’m absolutely delighted for him,” the manager said. “He’s just stepped straight in.
“You’re not a sub, just making up the numbers – you’re a finisher.
“He’s had to come and suddenly take his finisher hat off and be a starter for us. He’s showed he was ready for it.
“He was composed – [in defence] him and Hunts [Paul Huntington] and Jon Mellish dealt with the threat of [Will] Evans and [Omar] Bogle up there.
“I’m really pleased with Corey, really pleased. It was a really good finish, too, when the ball was bobbling about.”