DAVE Winfield is Wanderers' top defender this season after growing into the captain's role, according to manager Gareth Ainsworth.

Since being handed the armband after an injury to club captain Gary Doherty, Winfield's performances have improved and Ainsworth said the way he leads by example is rubbing off on the rest of the team.

The big defender epitomised his fighting character by throwing himself at a goalbound shot against Torquay in the same way a bodyguard would take a bullet.

It was a game defining moment and Ainsworth said: "Something he's there for and actually doing it are two different things.

"About ten minutes after that Anthony Stewart made a similar block. He's looking at Dave thinking, 'That's the way to defend, I'll defend like that'.

"I expect it from Dave and to see Anthony Stewart doing it ten minutes later, I think, 'Has he been looking at Dave?'

"He's the number one defender at the moment. There's not a lot of centre forwards who've got a lot of change out of Dave and I think he's leading really well out there.

"To have someone like that in your ranks is brilliant. He's like an extended voice of me down in the dressing room."

He added: "Everyone has weaknesses and you can improve those but your strengths are the reason why you're here and the reason why Dave Winfield's here is because he's a superb defender. He's a leader and he will run through a brick wall for you."