Caley Thistle manager John Robertson has challenged Charlie Trafford to produce the consistency required to become a fixture in Inverness’ midfield.
Canadian midfielder Trafford has struggled to maintain a regular berth in Caley Jags’ side since his move from Finnish outfit RoPS in 2017, with 42 league starts to his name in his two-and-a-half year spell in the Highlands.
Although Trafford has started Inverness’ last three matches – including a man of the match display in a 3-0 loss to Dundee United – the 27-year-old last week hinted his best form will only come with longer runs in the side.
Robertson says Trafford must maintain his recent levels of performance in order to keep his spot.
The Caley Jags manager said: “Charlie has been in and out of the team. We have said to him before that if he is focused, he’s a good player. Sometimes when Charlie gets a run in the team, he gets comfortable.
“That’s the key, we feel he needs to have that focus. Sometimes we feel Charlie plays better angry, and that’s what we need to get in every game.
“When he’s focused he can be a very effective player. He needs to do that week-in, week-out.
“When we see him play like he did against Dundee United, people wonder why he doesn’t play every game, but there is a reason.”
Robertson is likely to ring the changes for Saturday’s Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup quarter final tie against Clyde at Caledonian Stadium, having reaped the rewards of his rotation policy in earlier rounds against Greenock Morton and Alloa Athletic.
With Inverness looking to bounce back from successive 3-0 Championship losses against Dundee United and Arbroath, Robertson is looking for players to catch the eye ahead of the next league match at home to Dundee the following weekend.
Robertson added: “It’s not just Charlie, but sometimes a player’s form dips, or they lose their focus and concentration.
“As we have said already, we have got a real competitive edge in the team. We have three good midfield players in Charlie, David Carson and James Vincent.
“We freshened it up against Queen of the South as James has a wee groin strain which we are going to have to manage.
“It’s up to the players who start – they have to show by starting and putting on a performance they can’t be left out.
“We have said before if we can get all our players to give an eight or nine out of 10 performance, we will win the games we need to win.”