SCOTT Brown has backed young defender Michael Hector to bounce back quickly from his Port Vale disappointment as Cheltenham Town tackle Northampton Town this afternoon.
Loan centre-half from Reading Hector has shown plenty of quality and undoubted potential during his temporary spell with the Robins, which will run until the end of the season.
But he failed to deal with the considerable threat of Tom Pope on Friday as the top scorer in League Two helped himself to a hat-trick in Vale's 3-2 win, two of his goals coming from poorly defended set pieces.
"Everyone will say Michael Hector is going to be a great player and he has everything, all the ability in the world," Brown said.
"He had an off afternoon against Port Vale and unfortunately Pope has put all his chances away, but I know he'll bounce back against Northampton."
Despite conceding three times at Vale Park, the ever-present Brown's excellent season continued and it was only a series of fine saves in the first half that kept Cheltenham in the game.
He said he could take little comfort from his heroics, however, with them counting for nothing at the final whistle.
"It was a hard one to take and it's particularly disappointing as we had them on the ropes when we went 2-1 up, but set pieces have cost us," Brown said.
"Jennison Myrie-Williams ran us ragged in the first half and he was unplayable. We couldn't get near him and he showed he is one of the best players in League Two.
"They had a lot of shots and I was pleased with some of the saves I made, but we have lost the game so I still came off very disappointed."
With promotion rivals Burton Albion and Exeter City losing to Chesterfield and Plymouth Argyle respectively on Saturday, results were kind to Cheltenham and Brown said they will not give up on achieving a top-three place, even though it is going to take a big turnaround for them to avoid another play-off experience.
"We wanted six points from our two Easter games and that would have given us a good chance of the top three," he said.
"It's going to be tough to catch Vale now, but we won't give anything up and we'll keep going because we'll need to be in good form for the play-offs anyway.
"All the clubs up there have tough games and if we can beat Northampton it will put us back up there in the hunt."
Fifth-placed Cheltenham head into this afternoon's game three points behind the Cobblers, who have a game in hand.