KEITH Hill is keeping his fingers crossed that the back problem which ruled Jack Hobbs out at the weekend does not turn out to be a bigger issue.

The Wanderers boss is preparing to name youngsters Adam Senior and Yoan Zouma at the heart of his defence for tonight’s game at Bristol Rovers but hopes experienced head Hobbs will not be far from fitness.

The 31-year-old had an epidural injection to settle a “historical” back injury last week, ironically after being given the weekend off by the club as reward for hard work on the training ground.

Hill is reluctant to push Hobbs too hard and risk losing another key member of his side long-term.

Wanderers will almost certainly have to do without Sonny Graham (ankle) and Thibauld Verlinden (groin) at the Memorial Ground but Hill hopes Hobbs’ problem can be managed.

“It’s important that Jack is out on the training pitch,” he said. “He likes being out there and it’s important he feels comfortable in that. But I can’t judge or make predictions on what the medical team know or what Jack knows about his condition. It’s very much trusting them.

“We don’t want to aggravate it. I can’t push him into playing and then we have a long-term injury. We have too many of them and they are all because of the robust nature of League One.

“We just don’t have the foundation to replace all the time. It has been a difficult two weeks finding out the cost of Liam Bridcutt not being available and then Jack Hobbs as well. Two men in the spine of the team that make us better and stronger.

“it is the same with Jake Wright, having to take a central defender off with five minutes to go against Sunderland. They are mini punches to the stomach that we’re getting that make you bend over and lose your breath.

“It’s always tough but we’re looking forward to a time where we work with a fully-fit squad instead of every day another problem.”