MICHAEL Hector has already shown his ability as a footballing centre-half for Cheltenham Town, but the less glamorous side of his game has most impressed assistant manager Neil Howarth.
The 20-year-old has made two appearances since arriving on loan from Reading, fitting in seamlessly alongside the team's most consistent outfield player this term, Steve Elliott.
As to be expected for someone on the books of a Premier League club, Hector is comfortable on the ball and has made some striding runs out of defence, showing composure and fine close control.
Howarth (inset), a versatile defender himself during his playing days, believes those qualities are an added bonus and that Hector's willingness to keep things simple when he needs to has been pleasing to see.
"Michael is highly thought of at Reading and he's highly thought of at Cheltenham too," Howarth said.
"Centre-half is a difficult position for a young lad, but I think his time at Barnet last season must have done him the world of good.
"He is not scared of kicking it out of the ground when he needs to and for me that's the sign of a good defender.
"He can play too and bring it out, but that's a bonus and he's already looking like a mature defender."
Hector will be close to his London home when Cheltenham visit Dagenham and Redbridge tomorrow.
Yates has added five new signings since their last away trip and Howarth believes the new faces will help them avoid the sort of heavy defeats on the road that have been the only disappointing of an otherwise successful season so far.
They let in four at Rotherham, Chesterfield and Rochdale and they have only won one away match in League Two since October 13.
"We have had a couple of bad defeats on the road, but we've managed to add steel with players like Michael Hector and Jason Taylor," Howarth said.
"Whether you are home or away shouldn't really matter, but when you are a long way from home and the fans are making noise and you have to defend a corner, you have to puff your chests out, roll up your sleeves and you can't go missing. I know we have players here who won't go missing."
Left-back Billy Jones is back in contention having recovered from a minor thigh strain, presenting Yates with a selection headache.
Keith Lowe and Sido Jombati have not done much wrong in the last two matches, so Jones may have to bide his time before returning after starting the opening 34 matches of the season.
There are no new injury worries, but Howarth said the club were still unsure over the future of Swindon Town winger Luke Rooney.
He trained with Cheltenham again yesterday and the window for emergency loan signings has now reopened.
"It's still up in the air, but I am sure one way or the other it will be resolved soon," Howarth said.
"The loan window reopens now so we might know more soon. Luke has been training with us and I believe he is keen to sign, but sometimes it's not that easy."
Cheltenham were due to travel to the far side of London today in preparation for the match.