IAN Holloway believes the leadership qualities of Alan Dunne and Nicky Bailey were crucial in Millwall's win over Nottingham Forest on Saturday.
And the Lions boss hopes the experienced pair will be fit to start against Wigan tonight after their returns to the side at the City Ground.
Holloway is keeping a close eye on Bailey's energy levels following his first start in almost two months but seemed confident the midfielder would play.
"The big difference was the communication down the spine of the team," Holloway said.
"Nicky brings that and, if you look at the stats, he has played three games for me and we've won two of them.
"I think he can play two games in a row – I certainly hope he can. He made a huge difference because he's a talker.
"He's a very good player and a really good organiser. He always believes that we can win – it sounds simple but sometimes your team needs that."
Dunne, who was handed the captain's armband after giving a rousing dressing-room speech in the days leading up to the Forest game, impressed at centre back.
"Because he is a right back he is used to having the ball at his feet, and in that game we needed to pass it around a little bit and then switch it," Holloway added.
"His distribution from back there is a massive bonus. I am asking him to play him out of position but he's a fantastic defender and he lives to defend.
"When the chips are down, he is your man. If there was a one on one situation and I needed someone to make a last-ditch tackle, I think Dunney would step up.
"He always punches above his weight. It's really important that you have the right sort of character in your team and he certainly showed it on Saturday.
"We've got to get the mental side of it right and keep going. The determination in our group, led by Dunne and Bailey, really helped."