DARREN Ward has praised Troy Archibald-Henville’s perseverance in getting himself back to full fitness after recurring knee problems, saying Swindon Town can only benefit from his return.

Archibald-Henville did not play a single minute for the Robins between November 6, 2012 and February 1 this year due to his persistent knee injury and underwent an operation to try to fix the issue in the autumn.

However, the former Tottenham trainee has come back with a bang in recent matches, producing a string of impressive performances alongside Ward at the heart of the Town defence.

Ward is not surprised by the ease with which Archibald-Henville has slotted back into regular action and lauded the 25-year-old’s application and dedication to his rehabilitation over 16 testing months.

“I’ve always shown interest in what Troy does,” said the Swindon skipper. “When I joined the club he was here and we’ve done a lot together, and it’s important to look after your teammates - regardless of what position they are and if they’re competition.

“He’s had the backing of everyone and he’s a credit to himself because he’s the one who’s had to do the hard work primarily to get fit.

“His last two or three performances have shown that.

“Troy is a great guy.

“Unfortunately he’s had an injury for all this time and we’ve tried to support him and help him out along the way.

“It’s been very difficult and very frustrating for him. We’ve welcomed him back with both arms.

“He’s a very good player, a good talker and he’s nice to play with because he talks a lot.

“It helps my job and it helps the team grow. It’s credit to all the hard work he’s put in.”

Ward thinks Archibald-Henville’s return has given a lot more solidarity to the Swindon defence, thanks primarily to the added experience the former Exeter City man brings to the side.

With 146 professional appearances under his belt, the centre-back has played four times more games in the senior ranks than the rest of Town’s central defensive options - Raphael Rossi Branco, Grant Hall and Aaron Oakley - combined.

And his skipper highlighted the importance of having a man alongside him who’s been around the block as the season enters its business end.

“He’s good on the ball and he’s got a lot to his game, which we could do with.

“He’s still a young man but he’s one of the older young men and that does help out,” said Ward.

“This season has been a season where a lot of players have found out a lot about themselves, grown up and growing into a man.

“Someone like Troy, who has had played a few seasons and has played a few first-team games, can only help the group.”