ANDY GRAHAM is adamant the best place for Alloa's loan players to develop is by playing first team football in Clackmannanshire.

The defender has formed an impressive partnership at the back with Aberdeen's Sam Roscoe and has watched Hearts' Dario Zanatta flourish up front in his time at the Indodrill Stadium.

And with Roscoe, Zanatta, Liam Burt, and Connor Shields all facing an uncertain future as their six-month deals draw to a close, the skipper insists they should stay at Alloa and play football if they want to further their careers.

The 35-year-old told Advertiser Sport: "I think it is clear for everybody to see how Sam has come on in his time here. That's why Alloa is a great place for boys not playing first team football to come out and aid their development.

"You can see Sam from the first game to how he plays now and it's clear for everyone to see that he has come on leaps and bounds just by playing first team football.

"We've formed a great relationship on the pitch and that shows in the way that we've played together and I just hope we can sort out extending his stay.

"I say it all the time, it's so important for boys who come to the club to fit in. You see the difference in Dario and I think he has come on.

"I just hope Hearts keep him here and allow him to play first team football as I think that is best for his development, if I am being honest. The worst thing for him is to go back to Hearts and maybe be a bit part player.

"When they've got guys like Steven Naismith and Steven McLean it's going to be hard for Dario to get into the side consistently.

"I think it's a no brainer for Hearts' point of view that he's back here playing week-in-week-out."

Despite the success of Zanatta, Roscoe, and the now-departed Jake Hastie, it has proven a frustrating six months for Burt and Shields who have spent much of their time on the bench.

But, Graham believes that is down to the consistent performances of the rest of the squad and insisted they are key players for the Wasps.

He continued: "It's been unfortunate for Connor (Shields) and Liam (Burt), they have had to be more patient. But, that's down to the form shown by the guys playing every week.

"Guys like Alan Trouten and Kevin Cawley have played so many games at a good level and their quality shines through and that's the hard thing for the young boys.

"But, they've been great additions to the dressing room and that's the most important thing. There's been no throwing the toys out the pram and you can see the spirit especially when everybody is off the bench and celebrating.

"It just shows that we are all in it together and that spirit will hopefully keep us in the league."

Graham played a crucial role in Alloa's win over Dundee United on Saturday not only defending superbly throughout but also popping up with the crucial equaliser.

It was only the skipper's second league goal of the season, something he is keen to address.

He said: "I should have more and get annoyed at myself when I don't get at least three or four during a season.

"It was a great delivery from Stevie (Hetherington) who tempted the goalkeeper out and credit to him for that.

"All I had to do was get something on it and thankfully it has gone in."