Caley Thistle manager John Robertson has urged Inverness’ youngsters to be ready for action ahead of a spell of three matches in seven days.
Inverness host bottom-of-the-table Falkirk in the Championship tomorrow before taking on League 2 club Edinburgh City in Tuesday’s Scottish Cup fourth round replay at Caledonian Stadium, with the Highlanders ending the week with a trip to leaders Ayr United on Friday night.
Robertson was already light in numbers, with George Oakley and Charlie Trafford his only outfield substitutes over the age of 20 for the original tie against Edinburgh last Sunday, however his options have been further stretched after Nathan Austin picked up a thigh strain and Daniel MacKay suffered a knee injury. Skipper Carl Tremarco (thigh) and midfielder Angus Beith (hip) are already sidelined.
Robertson is keen to bolster his squad in the January transfer window but says some of the club’s promising youngsters could be given their opportunity in the meantime.
Robertson said: “The squad is tight, as we have said already. With three matches in seven days we will be bringing in a lot of our younger players to see where they are.
“We have always said we have got no problem with that.
“While we hope to reinforce the first team squad in January, there are opportunities for these young lads and I’m sure they will be ready to take it.
“I’m sure they will be more than adequate if that’s the case.”
Among the players Robertson could turn to is 16-year-old attacker Roddy MacGregor, who recently made his debut in a 3-3 draw against Queen of the South at Palmerston.
Robertson says the impact made by MacKay, who came off the bench to set up Tremarco’s winner in last season’s IRN-BRU Cup final against Dumbarton at McDiarmid Park, should act as inspiration.
He added: “Roddy has scored a lot of goals in the youth team of late.
“He had a cameo appearance against Queen of the South and showed he can handle it.
“Like we did with Daniel MacKay, we need to drip feed the likes of Roddy, Cameron Harper and Jack Brown into the team and get their minutes.
“Sometimes they are thrown in at the deep end – on occasions it can be very good for the kids.
“In an ideal scenario you want them to find their way and gradually build up the minutes, but sometimes if they are good enough they will be thrown in.
“It’s easier to play attack-minded players because it’s less of a risk, but we took a gamble and we will have no problem at all if Cameron, Jack, Ryan Fyffe or Harry Nicolson have to come in.”