RALPH Graham might have caught Richie Wellens’ eye on Tuesday night at Hungerford, but the Town boss stated it’s unlikely the academy graduate will match the performance levels of midfield teammates Michael Doughty and Adam May this season.

Therefore, the 39-year-old has encouraged Town’s prospects to take full advantage of any non-league loan offer presented to the club that could aid the youngsters’ development.

Graham is one of four members of Wellens’ squad that successfully graduated from last season’s academy – the others being goalkeeper Archie Matthews, versatile defender Luke Haines and winger Jacob Bancroft.

A midfielder in his playing days, Town’s boss sees potential in Graham’s ability. But isn’t keen on allowing the teenager to train Monday to Friday, only to miss out on the matchday squad each Saturday.

He said: “Ralph Graham played great at Hungerford. Is he going to get ahead of Michael Doughty and Adam May? Probably not.

“So why should we hold him back in terms of his progress by training him Monday to Friday and then on Saturday not using him. There is no point in doing that.

“In men’s football, attitude and dedication are both required – because teams are playing for three points every week.

“I’m a big believer that the earlier the young lads get games into their legs, then the quicker they will develop and get into the first team.”

Joe Romanski and Scott Twine were two previous academy graduates to earn fresh Town contracts this summer.

And both players enjoyed successful loan stints at Bath City and Waterford respectively.

Wellens won’t encourage season-loan loans for Town’s latest batch of youngsters, admitting he might require them later in the campaign when injuries become an inevitable part of the club’s progress.

“It would be more beneficial that players are match fit, so if we do recall them they have had six, seven or 10 games under their belt,” said Wellens.

“On the flip side, if they’re training with us and are needed because we’ve got injuries then they will be fit – but not match fit. It’s common sense for me.”