IAN Holloway claims Millwall midfielder Nicky Bailey has rolled back the years with his pre-season performances.
Bailey, who has worked tirelessly over the summer months to improve his fitness, is in the running to be named Lions captain for the 2014-15 campaign.
And Holloway says the 30-year-old has been showing the form that led Middlesbrough to part with £1.4million for him in 2010.
The Putney-born star scored a fine solo goal in an inter-squad friendly at The Den last week as preparations for the new season stepped up a gear.
"He was absolutely brilliant for the team that won 3-1," Holloway said.
"He scored a fantastic goal – he won it back in midfield and belted it past Stephen Bywater like he wasn’t there.
"It was the same Nicky who used to play years ago and cost a lot of money.
"He's really important to us and we tend to win when he plays. He could be a big, big player for us this season."
Asked whether he was any closer to naming his captain, Holloway added: "That will resolve itself.
"But every day we're communicating better as a group. We're getting confrontations but it's safe conflict – I want the players to own it and set their own rules."