Dumbarton’s head of youth development Tony McNally has been impressed with the progress of the youngsters recently included in the matchday squad and those out on loan.

Lewis Crawford and Ross Lyden have been included on the bench in recent games for Stevie Aitken’s side, with Lyden coming off the bench in their 2-1 win against Queen of the South.

Cameron Hambleton, Jay Cameron and Kyle Prior are on loan at Junior clubs Vale of Clyde, Irvine Victoria and Newmains United.

And McNally has been delighted with their rapid progress.

He said: “Ross Lyden and Lewis Crawford have done really well. They’ve worked hard.

“I’ve pushed them to get into the first team training and they’ve impressed the gaffer so credit to the boys. They’ve worked really hard for it.

“The boys [out on loan] have been in training with the first team as well.”

With the first team struggling with injuries lately, the temptation might be to recall the three players out on loan to provide backup.

But the former Annan coach has pushed for them to remain at their clubs to help them progress in the long term.

McNally added: “The reason they’ve not been put on the bench in recent weeks is that we would then have to recall them.

“At the moment they’re getting 90 minutes every week for their junior teams and after speaking with the boys and Stevie I think it’s the right decision to keep them out on loan at the moment.

“The boys would benefit far more from getting 90 minutes with the juniors rather than sitting on the bench with the first team.

“It’s a good experience them going up to the bench with the first team but they need to play, and that’s the main reason they haven’t been recalled.“ And they are reaping the rewards for that decision, with positive feedback from the Junior teams.

He said: “The clubs have been great. They’ve been looked after really well and they’ve been given that opportunity. I wanted to get them into a real football environment because they’re going to be challenged.”