Manager Peter Murphy has bolstered his ranks at Annan Athletic, ahead of their Betfred Cup opener at home to Dumbarton this weekend.

The Black and Golds brought in promising keeper Lyle Avci and defender James Ballantyne, both 21, last night.

Stranraer-based Avci has featured for Murphy’s side during pre-season and has been awarded with a contract for their 2019/20 campaign.

Ballantyne, meanwhile, started out with spells in the youth set-ups at Rangers and Kilmarnock, before moving to Ayr United, one of Carlisle United favourite Murphy's old clubs, where Ballantyne captained the reserve side for two years.

Last season, he made the move to the Junior League and Benburb FC where he helped win promotion.

"[I'm] buzzing to be here," he told Annan's website. "It’s a great opportunity for myself and I’m looking forward to keeping my head down, working hard and progressing."

Avci, who will compete with former Workington Reds, Barrow and Celtic Nation man Aaran Taylor for the number one shirt, added: "I’m very excited for the season ahead and will do all I can for the club when called upon."

Also in Annan's Betfred Cup group are rivals Queen of the South, Greenock Morton and Scottish Premiership side Motherwell.