DAVID Flitcroft has backed defenders Yoan Zouma and Adam Senior to bounce back from disappointment against Rochdale.

Wanderers let a 1-0 lead slip in the final 25 minutes at the UniBol on Saturday as the lack of experience at the back was exploited by Dale’s wily front pairing, Ian Henderson and Aaron Wilbraham.

Assistant boss Flitcroft admits the loss of Jack Hobbs to a back injury before kick-off proved difficult to handle.

“It’s a massive lesson for two young lads,” he said. “Wilbraham came on with that knowledge and intent and that’s probably Zouma’s biggest test so far, Henderson linking with that – his power and finishing – two very accomplished strikers in this league, so it’s difficult for the young boys but it’s an experience you can’t coach or manufacture in training.

“It is difficult for them but we’ll go through the game, look at the video, show them how to improve on that. They want to come all the way with us, no question, and Zouma has already progressed a long way. Adam deserved his chance to step in, he’s been fantastic since we walked into the building and his passing was good again. A lot of his defensive duties were good as well, so we’ll keep working with them.”

Explaining Hobbs absence, Flitcroft said Senior and Zouma had only discovered they would be starting the game late in the week.

“We didn’t get a lot of time to work with them because Hobbsy had an epidural injection and it hasn’t got to the place we needed it to be,” he said.

“We had a couple of days working with the boys and for 70 minutes they did everything and more to compete with Rochdale’s attacking influence.”