Caley Thistle manager John Robertson is hopeful midfielder Liam Polworth will return from a knee injury for tonight’s Scottish Cup fifth round replay against Ross County.
Polworth sat out his first game since January last year when he was sidelined for Saturday’s 1-0 Championship defeat to Dunfermline, having suffered the injury in the build up to the East End Park encounter.
Although Robertson is prepared to give Polworth until the 11th hour to prove his fitness, the Caley Jags boss is reluctant to take a risk that could jeopardise his condition for the remainder of the season.
Robertson said: “We’re still waiting on Liam. He had treatment over the weekend and is still feeling it a little bit.
“We’ll give him every opportunity, right up until kick-off time, to see if he is available.
“He trained on the Thursday and Friday as expected, but just jarred his knee. It was really painful on Saturday, but eased Sunday and today.
“We’re hopeful, but we’ll leave it until the very last minute because the most important thing is we still have 12 league matches to play after this which is every bit as important.
“We won’t risk the rest of Liam’s season by pushing him too far, too quickly. From what we saw on Monday, we’re hopeful he can make it.”
With three draws and a narrow County win from the four derby encounters so far this term, Robertson does not feel playing at Caledonian Stadium will be significant tonight, adding: “In the matches this season so far, the one game that was won by Ross County was probably the game we dominated most.
“I don’t think home advantage helps either team. They have a few ex-Inverness players who know all about this stadium, while a lot of their players live in Inverness.
“I don’t think playing here or Dingwall gives either team an obvious advantage.
“We hope it will come down to that bit of magic, bravery or class to win the football match. Sometimes, it comes down to a big stroke of luck.
“But you have to earn that luck through fight, desire, hunger and ability on the ball.”
Robertson was critical of his players’ display in the wake of Saturday’s defeat to the Pars, with the Inverness manager demanding a strong response.
He added: “I was disappointed in the performance and the result. We didn’t get going at any stage.
“The annoying thing is it wouldn’t have taken much to win the game. Results going as they did, would have given us a nice wee cushion, but we didn’t take advantage.
“I’ve said already, that level of performance is unacceptable.
“In every match, a given for every footballer should be hunger, desire and energy – that’s what we’ll be looking for.”