CLUB captain Andy Graham has backed Alloa’s young goalkeepers to step up in Neil Parry’s absence.

The Wasps number one was forced off in the second half of last Saturday’s league cup defeat to Hibs with a nasty head injury which could sideline him for a number of weeks.

But Graham believes his deputies Chris Henry and Andy Wilson are ready to fight for the jersey – and backed the pair to shine in Parry’s absence.

He told Advertiser Sport: “Obviously Neil getting injured isn’t ideal. It’s hard when you see something like that happen to one of your friends.

“He will be a big loss and it’s a real shame for him. He’s a massive player for us.

“But hopefully Chris Henry and Andy Wilson will be able to step up and take their opportunity. They need to be brave because they have a real chance now.

“They are both talented boys and they will push each other. They are both young but they have been involved in the first-team squad for a while.

“Chris came on on Saturday and did well. He has had a good pre season so he has to take the chance he has now. I’m sure he will because he has all the attributes to become a top keeper.”

Even in defeat against Hibs, Graham was pleased with the Wasps’ performance – and believes it shows positive signs for the season ahead.

And he backed his side to improve further once new manager Peter Grant has had a chance to strengthen the squad.

He said: “When you go a Premiership team, no matter how hard it will be you still want to win the game. Even though they are a strong side, we held our own.

“We had some very good spells, particularly in the last 20 minutes of the first half. We were well in the game.

“The first goal was a frustrating one to lose from our point of view and it became a lot easier for them after that. It got the fans off their backs and that was important because up to that point that had been a real problem for them.

“The boys can be really pleased with their efforts.

“The league cup starts so early and we are running on a really small squad at the moment.

“The changeover in manager has caused a bit of disruption but the gaffer is doing everything he can to get his targets in. We are short on numbers at the minute but he has guys he is in the process of bringing in and once that happens we will be fine.

“He is also getting his message across and this league cup group stage is the ideal place for that to happen. It means when the league starts we will be ready to go.

“The majority of the boys were here last season so they know what’s needed, and once we get a couple more to add to that we will be fine.

“It’s a really good group for a new signing to come into. It’s really easy to settle in, because the majority of the group have been together for a good few seasons now.”

Graham believes the squad are thriving under the stewardship of Grant, who took over from Jim Goodwin earlier this month.

He added: “We are really enjoying working under the new manager.

“Peter has coached at the highest level and we have to listen and learn to what he has to say.

“He is trying to get his message across without giving us too much at once which is good. It’s something that might take a couple of weeks because the pedigree he has is huge.

“He is still making his mark but thing have been really good so far.”