RICHIE Wellens is unlikely to ever be happier after losing a game following last night’s one-goal defeat to Bristol Rovers in Town’s Trophy Group F finale.

The club’s fate had already been sealed in the competition following earlier defeats to Chelsea U21s and Plymouth, and a third defeat was inflicted on Wellens’ makeshift XI at the Memorial Stadium last night after Mark Little struck the game’s only goal from close range in the second half.

Encouragingly, Wellens handed debuts to 17-year-old first-year scholar Harry Parsons and attacking midfielder Toby Holland – Parsons started while Holland came on in his place with an hour played.

Rovers’ line-up featured proven first-team players Kyle Bennett and Jonson Clarke-Harris among others.

Losing by a goal therefore gave Town’s 39-year-old boss an injection of satisfaction and belief that his fringe players possess a dangerous element to their game.

He said: “It was a game that absolutely was not important for us.

“In games like this, you’ve got to try and use it as an exercise by getting as much as you can out of it.

“I’m not going to be as happy losing a game all season – we had players out there that haven’t appeared at all this season.

“We gave debuts to two young kids aged 17 – they did great, Harry Parsons was brilliant for an hour but just ran out of steam.

“The same applies to Toumani Diagouraga, Sidy Sanokho and Scott Twine – they ran out of steam.

“Bristol (Rovers) are a half-decent League One side. It’s good for the club to have two young lads handed their debut.”

Meanwhile, Danny Rose and Rob Hunt will have to be assessed after they both prematurely left play in the first half after picking up individual knocks.

Rose was left clutching his hamstring after coming out worse off in a 50-50 lunge for possession, while Hunt was removed from the game by Wellens after going to ground three times.

Wellens added: “Danny (Rose) needed minutes because he hasn’t played much, we wanted to try and get minutes in him but he was feeling his hamstring.

“Rob (Hunt) went down three times and wanted to carry on, but there’s no point at all doing that.

“We’ll assess them on Thursday and go from there.”