JOSH Vela and Zach Clough have taken Wanderers’ survival fight to heart.

Phil Parkinson reckons the home-grown youngsters’ passion for the Bolton cause could be a big factor in the remaining few months of the season.

Vela showed a marked upturn in form during February, coinciding with the return of another academy graduate, Clough, on loan from Nottingham Forest.

And the Wanderers boss is delighted to see midfielder Vela – who may return to action against Preston this afternoon after missing the last two games with an ankle injury – getting some credit in what has been a tough season to date.

“I’ve said many times in these interviews that Josh hasn’t had those moments he had last year but he’s one of the lads who’s come up through the academy and he plays like that,” he said. “He plays with his heart on his sleeve and I am really pleased for him.

“He’s on the same wavelength as Zach. Those two enjoy playing alongside each other – you can see they’ve done it so much it’s easy for them. They know each other’s game.

“They want to win for Bolton Wanderers. The fans appreciate that and it can give the place such a lift when you see them playing well.”

The ‘new-look’ Wanderers, re-shaped since the departure of top-scorer Gary Madine, has put a healthy four-point gap between themselves and Birmingham City, who sit third-bottom.

That could potentially become seven by this evening, should the Whites improve upon the point they collected from a goalless draw at Deepdale in November.

The Wanderers boss is delighted with how his team have adapted, not least Spanish utility man Derik Osede, who impressed when deputising in an unfamiliar position in difficult matches.

“The tough run started with Bristol City and Fulham at home – two sides in the top six,” he said.

“We got four points from those two games. Six would have been great. Would I have settled for three? Maybe.

“The return has been really good and there’s a resilience about the lads. I think Derik Osede exemplified it again.

“It’s a hard, hard position he’s been playing on the right of a three in midfield, especially against a team which switches the play quickly. He was great.”