Donaldson confident Caley Jags can offset loss of key players

© SNSColl Donaldson.
Coll Donaldson.

Caley Thistle defender Coll Donaldson has backed manager John Robertson to prove once again he can offset the loss of key players.

Robertson’s midfield options have been reduced by the departures of Liam Polworth and Joe Chalmers who found the lure of Premiership football too strong to resist, with Polworth having signed a pre-contract with Motherwell and Chalmers switching to newly-promoted Highland rivals Ross County.

Caley Jags have also lost Nathan Austin, Darren McCauley and Owain Fon Williams in recent weeks, with Robertson bringing in forwards James Keatings and Nikolay Todorov, and David Carson and James Vincent as reinforcements so far.

Inverness were forced to reshuffle 12 months ago when midfielder Iain Vigurs left to join County on the back of a campaign which saw him named Caley Jags’ players’ and supporters’ player of the year.

With Inverness going on to finish third in the Championship and reach the semi-finals of the Scottish Cup last season, Donaldson has no doubts his side can cope once again.

Donaldson, who will face a return to Tannadice to face his former club Dundee United on the opening day of the season on August 3, said: “You are always replaceable, no matter how good you are.

“Losing Iain Vigurs was a big one for us, and maybe getting used to that in the first few weeks of the season was tough.

“I think we’re in quite a fortunate position because the majority of our squad were tied up. Most teams will have had more than two or three out of contract.

“We’ve got a good bunch of boys in there – there’s always that team spirit. We’ve got a good group that are pulling in the right direction.”

Polworth had been with Caley Jags since the age of eight, clocking up 210 appearances for his hometown club before settling on the move to Fir Park towards the end of last season.

With the 24-year-old starting all but three of Inverness’ matches last season, Donaldson feels the void left by Polworth will be a particularly challenging one to fill.

Donaldson added: “Liam will be a big miss. Since it was announced publicly he was leaving he was first class, but he’s one of those players you don’t realise how important he is until he isn’t in your team.

“Especially for myself, he’s the sort of player I would look to to try and start our attacks.

“Other teams always try to stop Liam, which tells you everything, but I’m sure the manager has players in mind he can replace him with.”