Larnell Cole did not want to be in a relegation scrap when he joined Caley Thistle last summer, but the on-loan Fulham midfielder reckons he can emerge stronger from the experience.
Inverness are two points adrift of Hamilton Accies at the foot of the Premiership and have 13 games left to preserve its top-flight status, starting with tonight’s home match against Rangers.
Cole began his career with Manchester United, being handed his solitary appearance by Sir Alex Ferguson in a 3-0 League Cup win against Leeds United in September 2011, before going on to have loan spells with MK Dons and Shrewsbury Town after his move to Fulham in January 2014.
The task of helping Inverness stave off relegation to the Championship for the first time since 2009 is new, but the 23-year-old has no regrets, and feels the opportunity to perform in games such as tonight’s against the Gers made it an appealing move.
He said: “When I was deciding whether to extend my loan at Inverness in January, these were the matches I was thinking about.
“At Hearts, where the supporters are right on top of the players, those are the grounds and games I want to play in.
“I wasn’t getting as much of a chance as I would have liked in England, so this loan move is important to me.
“The experience of being at the bottom of the table here, even though it isn’t one I want, can be beneficial for me.
“It’s a new situation and I just have to work hard and do what I can to help the team pull away.”
Cole impressed in Inverness’ spirited 1-1 draw against Hearts last Saturday and although the Englishman feels performances are improving, he knows points are all that matter.
He added: “We have not made as much as we should have from the opportunities we’ve been creating. We can still do better. If that can change, it will be huge for us.
“Despite the results before the Hearts match we’re drawing more belief from each game we play and performances have been getting stronger. But a lot of it is about taking our chances.
“The Hearts game was something to build on. We just have to keep on believing we can get out of this.
“Since January, new players have come in and the spirit is still there. We’re just trying to build and make sure we stay in this league.
“The new players have settled in well, so I don’t think that’s a problem.”
Manager Richie Foran criticised the determination of his players in the wake of a 3-0 loss to Hamilton Accies on January 31, but Cole had no issues with the Irishman’s comments and is eager to show a response.
He added: “He was right to say what he did. We hadn’t shown as much determination as we could have in some of the games.
“That does get a reaction from the players because we want to prove to him we’re better than that and can put in better performances, which I think we can.
“We know we’re a good team, even considering the position we’re in and must continue to work towards proving our abilities.”