DUMBARTON youth academy product Kyle Prior is hoping to secure a contract with Dumbarton next year after breaking into the first team squad in recent weeks.

The 17-year-old has impressed manager Stevie Aitken and head of youth Tony McNally while on loan at junior side Vale of Clyde at the beginning of the season.

And the midfielder is eager to make his debut for the Sons after being on the bench for the last two games. He said: “It’s been a good experience training with them on a Tuesday and Thursday and being on the bench at all these new stadiums.

“All the boys have been great and the manager as well, and the kitman Colm has helped me with the travel.

“Stevie’s been a big help, he’s helped me come in and made me feel welcome and hopefully I can get my debut soon.

“And my aim for next season is to sign a new contract with them and stay on with them [Dumbarton] next season.”

Prior has been with Vale of Clyde since the start of the season, but was recalled by Dumbarton after putting impressive performances on the wing for the Tin Pail.

McNally added: “It was Stevie who had asked me to recall him. So sat down with Kyle and got his thoughts.

“He was playing 90 minutes each week and Vale of Clyde didn’t want to lose him, they didn’t want to send him back as he was a big player for them and he was a standout at that level.

“For me, if Stevie didn’t bring him into the first team level fold then I would have tried to get him a team higher up the level in the juniors to challenge him a bit more.

“But he’s been training with him and Stevie’s been delighted with him and the reports that I’ve given Stevie and some of the junior clubs have asked about him.

“Vale of Clyde played Bonnyrigg Rose in the Cup and Bonnyrigg Rose were asking about him so it just shows he’s a decent young kid and a good player and he just needs the guidance and the right pathway.”

Prior joined St Mirren’s youth academy when he was 10, and spent five years with Saints before moving to his hometown club.

The winger’s future was up in the air after the under-20s was scrapped this year, but McNally signed Prior and Cameron Hambleton, on loan at Irvine Victoria, on amateur deals before sending them out on loan.

And the 17-year-old has reaped the rewards from his time at Fullarton Park, saying it has helped him improve his game and make the step up from under-17s football to the juniors.

He added: “The manager Ian Currie and assistant manager George were very good to me and gave me a lot of playtime so that helped me a lot.

“Playing in the juniors it’s the first time playing against adults and it was a lot tougher, “There’s also a lot more long balls up top and it’s definitely made me tougher and playing against adults was a good experience.”

The Sons manager has been impressed with his transition into the first team squad, and thinks he is a hot prospect.

Aitken said: “The reports back when he was with his junior team were really good and we wanted to have a look at him in our environment and we’ve done that and he’s been looking great. We’re really chuffed with him, he’s settled in really well and doesn’t look out of place and certainly think the boy has a bright future.”