Kris Doolan admits that his Partick Thistle team will be down to its bare bones at Tannadice this evening for the Jags' second Viaplay Cup fixture of the new campaign.

Two academy players, Zander MacKenzie and Ben Stanway, were in the starting XI for Saturday’s penalty shoot-out win at Peterhead and only five substitutes out of nine were named; two were goalkeepers, while the other three were teenagers.

Right-back Jack McMillan and summer signing Scott Robinson were both carrying knocks and missed the new season’s curtain-raiser, while midfielder Stuart Bannigan sustained an injury that required a trip to the hospital after the match.

Tonight’s contest comes too soon for all three players but Doolan hopes to welcome the trio back into the fold in time for Saturday’s home match against Falkirk.

“We’re still threadbare,” Doolan said. “Stuart Bannigan will probably miss the game but not by long. We kind of feared the worst with Stuart but he is not as bad as we thought. He had to go to the hospital to get an x-ray but he got good news.

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“They were worried it was possibly a fracture in his ankle but I don’t think it’s anywhere near as bad as that. Hopefully with a rest and a bit of physio treatment he will be back with us soon. He is a big player in the middle of the pitch and for once he gets the good news in terms of not being out for too long.

“[McMillan and Robinson] won’t be available for the United game but they are aiming to be back for the Falkirk game on Saturday. Hopefully they resume training this week and that is positive in itself, that the two of them will be back.”

One or two new recruits would certainly help Doolan flesh out his squad and he is hopeful the club will have a couple of announcements to make before the end of the week in that regard. Recruitment, he is fast discovering, can be a drawn-out affair but he insists he is doing everything that he can to get more bodies in the door, and won’t be rushed into making any rash decisions.

“We are hopeful,” Doolan said. “I think the main thing is that there is plenty going on. Trying to get it finalised, though. I speak to a lot of managers and they all say the same thing, about how slow it is.

“You feel as if you’re working 24 hours a day and yet it’s slow. But yeah, we are hopeful that we will get a couple in quickly. If we can get the quality in that we’re wanting, then we’ll be bringing guys in that make us better.

“That is the aim – to bring in good quality, but also guys who will fit into the group well. And the quality that they bring in will also develop because of the quality that’s already here.

“I wouldn’t just bring in anybody, I don’t think that suits us. I don’t think it’s right to rush out and do that. I think it’s better to give our younger players some exposure and a chance.”

One player who is on Doolan’s radar is Rangers’ Ben Williamson. The Jags legend knows the midfielder well, having played alongside him at Arbroath, and Thistle are looking to secure a loan deal for the 20-year-old.

Doolan kept his cards close to his chest when asked about the Ibrox youngster before insisting that he has no qualms about throwing Thistle’s own academy players into the starting line-up during the group stages of the Viaplay Cup.

“I played with Ben at one point and I know all about him,” Doolan said. “He is a good lad and a good player. Nothing has happened and I don’t want to talk about another team’s player, but we have got plenty of targets that we are trying to get.

“It just seems to take time. There are so many things that need to fall into place before a player can put pen to paper, so he is another one that will be on the list. We will work our way through but ultimately we still have that plan in place and for me that is the key, the saving grace.

“We have to stick to that plan because our younger players are getting the game time they need and they are showing up really well. It’s great and it’s refreshing. If you can’t play your young players at this stage of the season, then when can you play them?

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“We have got young players who stepped up in the game on Saturday and took penalty kicks. I spoke to them after the game – in your learning and development, you have to be brave to be a footballer. That showed bravery to me, that they put their hand up and took a penalty.

“Ben Stanway went first and asked to go first, which I was really impressed by. I let him go first because I wanted to see if he could take that on, and he did. Zander MacKenzie and James Lyon stepped forward and did the same. I was really pleased by that – to see that they are not only enjoying their football, but also being brave like we’re asking.

“Also [goalkeeper] Jamie Sneddon – Jamie hadn’t played an awful lot last year when I came in. He plays the game, plays well, and then saves two penalty kicks in the shoot-out. That’s great for his confidence and his development, and I am delighted to see that kind of thing.

“We want all our players confident and firing on all cylinders so that when the Championship season gets going, we get going as well.”