Ross County midfielder Iain Vigurs has suffered a setback in his efforts to return to action following a foot injury.
Vigurs has not featured since the 1-0 home defeat to Dundee United on November 10 due to bruising in his foot, which came as a further frustration to the 30-year-old following a groin injury in the summer which disrupted the start of his second spell with the Dingwall side.
Although Vigurs has been among the substitutes for County’s last two matches against Ayr United and Partick Thistle, co-manager Steven Ferguson confirmed the midfielder is still struggling, meaning he will miss the visit of his former club Caley Thistle in tomorrow’s Highland derby.
Ferguson said: “Iain is still having issues. It’s more frustrating for Iain than anybody else, but he will continue to work with the medical team to see if we can get to the bottom of his problem.
“It’s bone bruising on his foot – and it’s just not settling down at all.
“Every time we think we’re just about there, it doesn’t quite materialise. We’ve got him on the bench and we are looking to try and kick him on, but every time we feel we can kick him on there has been one step forward but two steps back.
“Iain is a big player for us, and a big-game player as well. It’s a difficult one to take when he’s missing so many big games.
“Nobody can doubt Iain Vigurs’ quality. We are having to deal without having that option and it’s frustrating, but that’s football.”
Ferguson confirmed winger Michael Gardyne is in contention to start after returning from a broken foot, while Callum Morris (knee) and Brian Graham (groin) are also close to returning.
Despite County returning to the top of the Championship ahead of tomorrow’s encounter with Inverness, Ferguson feels the returning players can put pressure on the Staggies’ recent starting 11.
He added: “Everybody knows the competition for places we have. There is no guarantee anybody is going to play, and as soon as Stuart and I feel there needs to be a change or maybe levels are dropping a little bit, there is somebody there to take that place.
“That brings a real competitive slant to everything we do. Every day in training people are using that as a platform to try and impress and get in the team.
“The guys in the team know that as soon as they take their foot off the pedal, there is somebody willing and able to take their place.
“Stuart and I are more than comfortable in changing it if that’s what we have to do. We feel it breeds a real edge and winning mentality.”