Kris Doolan is comfortable turning to Partick Thistle’s academy to bolster his first-team squad ahead of the Viaplay Cup kicking off the new season tomorrow – and hopes the Jags’ youngsters will feature regularly throughout the campaign.

The group stages traditionally see up-and-coming prospects given game time while squads are still being finalised with the transfer market in full swing, but Doolan expects Thistle’s young guns to play beyond the early-season games.

First-team regulars Kevin Holt, Darren Brownlie, Ross Docherty, Kyle Turner and Scott Tiffoney departed the club in the summer, while Scott Robinson and Wasiri Williams have arrived at Firhill.

A loan deal for Rangers midfielder Ben Williamson remains close and while Doolan will be looking to further strengthen his squad before the league campaign kicks off, he expects to turn to the academy to supplement the starting XI after the playing budget at Firhill was reduced.

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“Yeah I think there’ll have to be [more opportunities for academy players],” Doolan said. “Why would we have these players and we don’t try to breed our own?

“When the budget comes down then ultimately that is what you have got to turn to, you have got to turn to what’s in your own youth ranks.

“We have got good players there who have come through. Aiden Fitzpartick came all the way through the academy and one of our top performers. There’s no reason why to keep replacing them.

“That’s why I think these cup games are refreshing because it gives the younger ones a chance for us to see them and for fans to see them, and to see them potentially playing in a different position even because then we can maybe develop them and you see a different side to the game.

“I want to broaden their knowledge of the game because I think as a young player your knowledge has to grow as quickly as you can. If you can develop that tactical knowledge, that’s what stands you in good stead for a career. And sometimes you have to see the game from a different perspective.

“These are games that give us a chance to do that but ultimately they’re competitive games we want to win, so I think that is a good environment for young players to come into.

“I think you’re right, throughout the year you will see academy players, young players, because I think it’s important for the club that we have to try to breed some of our own players, and to do that they need games. At some point they need to be playing.”

Thistle Weir Youth Academy trio Ricco Diack, Jamie Taggart and Sallu Turay signed modern apprenticeship contracts on Thursday, and academy director Paul McDonald was thrilled to see the teenagers move one step closer to the men’s game.

“It’s always a proud moment for the Academy to see players progressing into the first team and we’d like to congratulate Jamie, Sallu and Ricco on signing their modern apprenticeships,” McDonald told the club’s website.

“The Academy representation in the first team squad is fantastic to see with Aidan Fitzpatrick signing a new deal this summer, James Lyon and Mason McCready signing their first full-time contracts and now three new modern apprentices joining the ranks.

“The chance to continue to train on a daily basis with the senior squad can only help these young players to develop and I’m looking forward to seeing what they can contribute to the team over the next couple of years.”

Williamson, who spent last season on loan at Dundee, is nearing a temporary move to the Wyre Stadium At Firhill and he is a player Doolan knows well after the pair played together at Arbroath.

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The Jags manager stressed that the deal is yet to be finalised but he remains cautiously optimistic that it will get over the line in the not-too-distant future.

“I know Ben well, I know what he’s all about, I know the type of player he is,” Doolan explained. “It’s just whether it can be done. We don’t know whether these things can be done yet.

“We’re hopeful but there are other things that need to be sorted first and what you hope for and what you get sometimes isn’t always hand in hand in football.

“But we’re hopeful on a lot of things just now because we have got a lot of work going on. He’s a player I really like, I’ve always liked Ben, and we’ll soon see what can pan out.”