John Robertson admits that Mitchell Curry could be spear-heading Middlesbrough’s Premiership promotion push after Christmas if he is hot stuff in the Highlands.
The young Boro loanee is being tipped to set the Scottish Championship on fire this season with his explosive pace and goalscoring prowess.
But Caley Thistle boss Robertson knows storming success in his first six months north of the border could have an unavoidable downside for the Inverness club.
Middlesbrough may yet allow Curry, who turns 20 next month, to stay for the entire season. But in a measure of how highly the English Championship title hopefuls rate him, new manager Jonathan Woodgate has insisted on a mid-term recall clause.
Curry’s surge through the youth ranks towards first-team action at The Riverside stalled a little from last summer through a troublesome ankle injury that plagued him all season.
But Robertson is convinced the youngster can use the Caley Thistle stint to relaunch his career.
Robbo said: “It is a six-month loan, with the option to extend. We did ask about the full season but Middlesbrough rate him that highly they wanted the option of recalling him for their Championship push.
“So, he is under strict orders from me – have a quiet first six months and then smash in as many as you want!
“Seriously, we rarely take in loan players unless they’re better than what we’ve got and that shows how highly we rate Mitch. Our job, and Mitchell’s job, is to get him into the Middlesbrough first team.
“Nothing would please us more than if he bangs in a lot of goals here, then goes down and ends up a Premiership player with Middlesbrough.
“He wants to be a Middlesbrough player and this is a big vehicle and opportunity to help him realise his ambition.
“Selfishly, we hope he’s here banging in goals for us all year but if he does what we expect him to, it may be he heads back to Middlesbrough in January – and If he does that with 25 goals in the bag, he’ll have done a hell of a job for us.”
Curry said: “As soon as John Robertson and I spoke, I was straight up here in the car. I can’t wait to get going.
“I’ve had a frustrating time over the last couple of years, but hopefully I can kick on in my career now.”