Ash Eastham praised Fleetwood Town’s loanee centre-half Harry Souttar for impressing on his debut against Charlton Athletic.
Injury to skipper Craig Morgan saw the 20-year-old go straight into the back four and make his bow on Saturday.
The youngster had only arrived at Town in the week from Stoke City but Eastham said it felt like they had played together all season.
Their performances helped Town bounce back from a 1-0 defeat to Scunthorpe United by beating a Charlton side in the play-off spots thanks to Ched Evans’ second-half goal.
Souttar’s debut performance means that, once Morgan is available again, Town will have three centre-halves fighting for starting spots going into the last third of the season.
“He’s a big lad,” Eastham said of Souttar, who is 6ft 6ins.
“I met him for the first time on Thursday and he trained with us on Friday.
“Craig Morgan had a slight issue before the game and he (Harry) came in and played like he has been here for months.
“Fair play to him, he’s a 20-year-old lad.
“It is not easy to just slot in in League One; he did really well and I gave him a pat on the back in the dressing room after the game.
“I felt like I’d been playing alongside someone I’d been playing with for months.
“He was really good with his communication skills.
“It is so important, you want your centre-half next to you to talk to you as much as you do to them.
“He played like he had been doing it for years, long may that continue.
“We have three strong centre-halves here and we look to kick on now.
“Competition is good, we don’t want to feel like we are guaranteed a start.
“Soutts puts us all on our toes and we will fight for those slots.”
It was a new-look back four with forward Wes Burns continuing to fill the boots of the suspended Lewie Coyle at right-back.
While Eastham explained that they did not have a lot of time to work together beforehand, he did have praise for the way the back four worked together to keep a clean sheet.
He said: “You can’t do too much the day before the game and he (Souttar) has not been with us long but we did work for a good 45 minutes on Friday as a back four.
“It is new for Wes Burns and Hubby (James Husband) is playing alongside a new centre-half so it is building those partnerships and being on the right level.
“I thought the two full-backs were really good; they were aggressive, on the front foot and that is what we want going forward – allow me and Soutts to deal with the things in the air and Wes and Hubby be really aggressive out wide to stop crosses.
“It was a tough game on paper, a team that are at the top end of the table.
“You could see the desire to keep a clean sheet and go on and win the game.
“Second half, we had numerous chances to kill it off but a 1-0 will do me every day.”