Jack Ross says Aiden McGeady has regularly played through the pain barrier to power Sunderland's promotion charge this season.
McGeady has been virtually ever-present since making his first appearance of the campaign in mid-September, after a pre-season that never got started due to injury.
The 33-year-old scored another exceptional goal at Accrington Stanley during the 3-0 win on Wednesday night, but came off at half time after picking up a knock.
He remains a doubt for the trip to Rochdale on Saturday afternoon but Ross says his desire to haul Sunderland back to the second tier has been 'terrific'.
"He's played through a bit of pain and discomfort in a lot of games this season," Ross said.
"He gets a bit of [attention], he picks up knocks as you can imagine.
"There's been games where he has been sore either prior to it or during it but his desire to play is remarkable.
"Even all season, he just wants to train all the time," he add.
"I would hope that's because we've created something for him here that he really enjoys, but he has been terrific.
"He's getting his rewards for his whole approach to it."
McGeady has 14 goals and assists in the League this season, from just 30 games.
His overall goal tally for the campaign in all competitions is 14, his best ever career return.
On Sunday night he could be named as the League One player of the season, going up against Doncaster Rovers' John Marquis and Luton Town's James Collins.
Ross said McGeady had been 'outstanding' through the campaign.
"He has [been outstanding]," he said.
"I've spoken often enough about him, and other people are starting to acknowledge now it's not just because he's an immensely talented players, it's because his attitude and approach, his desire to be successful this season has been brilliant.
"You can see how much he's enjoyed his football, you can see how much he is trying to pull us to success this season.
"Other players understand how good he is but his willingness to play his part for other players as well has been brilliant.
"It's like everything, we've given him the opportunity to have the armband at times as well and he's then thrived on that extra responsibility, it's not something he'd done very often in his career despite his abilities.
"There's a lot he has responded to brilliantly this season, but like all of us he'll only be happy it it delivers success."
McGeady is not the only injury concern for ahead of the Rochdale clash.
Chris Maguire and Duncan Watmore remain sidelined, while Lee Cattermole and Reece James have also been ruled out.
George Honeyman is available for league action again after completing his suspension.