Caley Thistle manager John Robertson says the process of replacing Motherwell-bound midfielder Liam Polworth is already well underway.
Polworth signed a pre-contract with Premiership club Motherwell earlier this week, which will see him leave his hometown club at the end of the season following 204 appearances for the Highlanders.
Robertson accepts the departure of players is an inevitable reality, with the Caley Jags boss already plotting his summer reinforcements.
Robertson said: “It is a blow for us as he is a talented player but we have seen it happen before and it will no doubt happen again. That’s the life of all Championship managers if a Premiership club comes in.
“Ross County did it with Ross Draper, Hamilton with George Oakley and now Motherwell with Liam. The longer you stay in this league that’s what happens to your better players.
“Our task is to replace him, which won’t be easy. Everyone in Scotland, and that includes Rangers and Celtic, are selling clubs.
“If you have a successful season or have good players then eventually people will come and get them.
“We have done so in the past and it is difficult to replace quality players, but we’ve managed to do that. I will do my best to do that in the summer. We have not been sleeping and have talked to players we feel could replace Liam. That will continue. Even if Liam stayed we would still need another player in that position to put pressure on him. We are confident we can replace him.”
Robertson is content Polworth’s decision was not financially driven, with the lure of returning to the top-flight proving too much for the 24-year-old to resist, with Hamilton Accies and St Johnstone also having targeted him.
He added: “With the Bosman ruling and Liam’s contract running out the same season as he turned 24, it was always an option.
“We initially spoke to his agent on his thoughts and they wanted to see what was out there. We touched base with Liam every couple of months to ensure everything is okay. We were aware a couple of clubs talked to him in January after contacting us. Liam decided then he was staying put.
“He has made it clear this was never about money. He wanted to go back and play in the Premiership. We were hoping it would be with us and we still hope to get there via the play-offs but Liam has decided Motherwell have come up with an attractive offer financially and playing-wise.
“He has still got a big part to play for us and he knows what us required from now until the end of the season, hopefully including the play-offs. He will want to leave this club on a high. He has been terrific and I have no complaints about him.
“This is maybe the right time for Liam, a local lad making a move like this.”