After a brilliant campaign last term,, Alan Archibald has the hard task of trying to maintain the great form which saw Thistle reach the top six of the Scottish Premiership last season. Here is my thoughts on the season ahead for the Firhill side.
Four main first-teamers left over the close season with Ade Azeez, David Amoo, Liam Lindsay and Sean Welsh all being released or sold on. This has left Archibald with a bit of rebuilding to do. As well at this, backup goalkeeper Mark Ridgers; David Wilson and Jason Banton have all departed Maryhill too.
Jamie Sneddon has came in from Cowdenbeath and is an excellent young goalkeeper who deserves a chance at a higher level. While he may not instantly get into the side, he will provide good cover for Tomas Cerny and plenty competition for Ryan Scully. Thistle are well stocked in this area of the park heading into the new campaign.
With new signings Jordan Turbull and Niall Keown – who has made his loan move permanent – give Archibald good options at centre-half, with these two players also vying with Danny Devine and Adam Barton for this position. However, Barton can also play midfield, an area in which Thistle look short in right now, so more defenders may need to be recruited. Further to this, with Mustapha Dumbuya out for a lengthy spell on the sidelines, another right-back may need to be brought in to cover Christie Elliot – who is being trained up to play in this position by the coaching staff.
When you look at the central midfield options, alongside Barton you have Abdul Osman and Stuart Bannigan. Gary Fraser is also still amongst the available players, but he is still recovering from a nasty injury and he may not be up to speed any time soon. Andrew McCarthy is a promising youngster who is making his way through the ranks and after breaking his way into the first-team last term, Archibald knows the youngster can be relied upon. However, I am sure Thistle don’t want to put too much pressure on him right now and this is why I suspect another central midfield option may be drafted in.
Attacking wise, only one addition has been brought in. Blair Spittal adds a different dimension to the Partick attack and while he is different to what David Amoo and Ade Azeez provided, he can be a game-changer, something in which Amoo and Azeez struggled to be when Kris Doolan and Chris Erskine failed to score or were unavailable for selection. Kevin Nisbet is also a striking option, but, Doolan is the only experienced out-and-out striker amongst the group so, again, I think this area will be looked at and strengthened by the Firhill management team.
In conclusion, I think it will be an extremely tough ask for Partick to gain top six again next season and with the lack of depth in the squad right now, I feel that is the biggest issue. If they can add quality players in 3 or 4 areas before the Transfer Window closes at the end of August, then I see no reason why they cannot be up there challenging for finishing in the top six, once again.