Caley Thistle manager John Robertson feels Inverness will have to rely on their increased strength in depth if they are to sustain a Championship title challenge this season.
Inverness have taken five points from their opening three matches, having already faced title favourites Dundee and Dundee United away from home.
Robertson made six fresh additions in the summer, with particular emphasis on bolstering his attacking options with the arrivals of James Keatings, Nikolay Todorov, Mitch Curry and Miles Storey, along with midfielders David Carson and James Vincent.
Robertson feels he has several dependable faces he can turn to on the bench if the Caley Jags boss is looking to change a game compared to this time last year, and he said: “That’s where I think we have improved a bit this year. We changed it on Saturday because we felt Miles Storey’s pace could cause Dundee’s two centre-halves problems, and it worked to a certain degree.
“We knew we could bring Jordan White on though, and we also had Nikolay Todorov and young Roddy MacGregor coming off the bench.
“We’ve also got the likes of Kevin McHattie, Sean Welsh and Cameron Harper on the bench. Charlie Trafford didn’t make the 18, while we’ve still got Brad Mckay to come back from injury.
“We feel we’ve got a stronger bench and team of players this year. Last year we were perhaps bringing on players who weren’t quite making the impact we wanted.”
Robertson says keeping his full squad fit will be key to his side’s prospects this season, with the Highlanders aiming to build upon Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Dens Park when they host Morton on Friday night.
Robertson added: “We have played United, and we have played Dundee twice. Both teams are packed with quality but I think the difference is they have got real quality coming off the bench.
“That’s where clubs like ourselves may struggle a wee bit.
“If we can keep our best 14 or 15 players fit, along with Morton, Partick Thistle, Dunfermline and Queen of the South, we will give any team a game.
“I have said before this is a league where you can beat the team at the top, but just as easily lose to the team at the bottom.
“We feel if we get it right on the park, we have got a team that can challenge.
“I think it showed against Dundee on Saturday that there was very little between the sides.”