JOSH Strauss believes the welcome return to action of fly-half AJ MacGinty has served to further illustrate his importance to the Sale Sharks cause.

The Irish-born American international made his comeback from two-and-a-half months out against Worcester recently and played a key role in a superb 58-25 victory for the Sharks.

MacGinty's key half-back partnership with scrum-half Faf de Klerk immediately clicked back into gear while the playmaker's ability with the boot was reinforced with a 13-point individual haul.

And back-row powerhouse Josh says that while MacGinty is something of an unsung hero with the wider public, the Sharks squad are in no doubt as to how crucial a player he is.

"It was also great to have AJ back out there against Worcester as he is such a good general and it just clicked," Strauss told the club's website.

"Most fly-halves get the glory but AJ is a bit like a number seven playing at 10.

"Those guys do all the hard work but never get any of the glory that they deserve.

"AJ's a great guy to have in the team. He's got a winning mindset and he drives all of us to be better.

"He demands things from us… it is stuff that maybe the outside world doesn't see but he helps to drive up standards and that's just great for the team."

Reflecting on the hugely impressive Worcester win, Strauss said there were still issues for the Sharks to address despite the handsome margin of victory.

But with the Premiership now very much at the business end with only four games remaining in the regular league season, the powerful number eight stressed that the players' collective focus was trained on breaking the campaign down week by week as the battle to secure a top-six finish hots up.

"It was a bit disappointing to concede a few tries in the second half during the Worcester game as we pride ourselves on our defence but, at the same time, after a few weeks off the lungs were burning a little bit and the good thing is that there is always room for some improvement," he added.

"Coming off a three week break there's always a bit of rust to shake off. We had one week completely off and Worcester are a good team so I think the margin of the win showed how well we played.

"There are still things to work on, especially how our defence went in that second half.

"But at this stage of the season it's now all about taking things one week at a time.

"We have got the top four teams coming up in these next few games starting with Wasps so it is a tough run of games and we just need to maintain our focus."