ALAN ARCHIBALD admits it is a huge summer for his Firhill kids as they bid to break into his first-team.
The likes of Chris Duggan, David Wilson, Liam Lindsay and Dale Keenan all impressed for the Thistle second string last season and joined the top squad at their Spanish training base.
Duggan and Lindsay had brief loan spells at Forfar and Alloa respectively last season and Archibald will keep a close eye on his Firhill starlets to see if they can win places in his squad for the SPFL Premiership season.
He said: "There are a few we have kept on that are over 20. It is a big year for Duggan, Wilson, Lindsay and Keenan.
"They will be with us for the whole pre-season and if they are not ready to step up or are there or there abouts, they will have to go out on loan.
"It will be one or the other for them. It will be out on loan, not to get rid of them, but to bring them on and get games.
"Big Liam went to Alloa and did well and the rest will need to play.
"They will train with us and hopefully go out and play. We want to see them progressing. It is not make-or-break for them but they can't be in the 20s so they are either with the first-team or out on loan.
"They know they need first-team football and some of them have had a taste of it. They were with us most of last year.
"It is hard in the 20s, sometimes you can go back a bit when you have been in the first-team and go back to the 20s."
As well as assessing his young Jags talents, Archibald cast his eye over a trio of trialists during Thistle's spell in Spain.
Carl Magnay, Darren Barr and Jordan Mustoe all got the chance to impress the Firhill boss.
And Archibald is happy to wait as he bids to bolster his ranks.
He said: "I can't stress enough, I don't want players that aren't any better than what we have here and won't improve the squad.
"That is something we are wary of. We have got a tight budget and we can't afford it, especially if you get injuries.
"We had a couple of injuries last year and it leaves you light.
"We won't want to jump in and panic buy and waste a space in the budget."