Caley Thistle manager John Robertson is resigned to losing striker Mitch Curry when his loan deal from Middlesbrough expires in January.
Curry has been with the Highlanders since joining on a six-month stint in the summer, having previously spent time on loan with Harrogate Town.
The 20-year-old’s spell at Caledonian Stadium has been hampered by injury, after suffering damaged ankle ligaments in just his fourth outing for the club – a 1-0 Betfred Cup loss to Dundee – which caused him to miss nearly three months of action.
Although Curry has netted twice in five starts since his return, Robertson says the Wearside-born striker will return to Boro in the new year in a bid to earn an extended stay in the Riverside beyond the expiry of his contract next summer.
Robertson has not ruled out the possibility of targeting Curry in the future however, and the Caley Jags boss said: “The problem for Mitch is it seems when he gets a run of games he gets injured. We lost him for 10 weeks with his ankle injury and then he picked up a little hamstring strain.
“We spoke to him – there’s a player in there, there is a goalscorer in there.
“But what he needs to do is get a run of games. The plan was quite simple, he’s got six months of his contract left at Middlesbrough and the plan is to get him as many games as possible.
“If he can come here and play, score goals, he can get into Jonathan Woodgate’s plans.
“He will have to go back to Middlesbrough for the last six months of the season because he has to show them he’s worth a new contract.
“He’s not going to be able to do that if he’s out on loan.
“But he’s certainly a player we’ll keep an eye on and see what develops in the summer.”
Caley Jags ended a run of three matches without scoring when they defeated Dundee 1-0 in the Championship last weekend, and Robertson is determined to build on that when the Highlanders make the trip to Alloa Athletic tomorrow.
Robertson added: “The first thing we say to the players is, week-in, week-out, find a way to win the game. We did that.
“We got our tactics right, our shape right, our formation right, but most importantly the players’ application was bang on.
“We keep saying to them, if their application is right, their intensity and concentration levels are right, then we’re a tough team to beat.
“That’s what we were on Saturday. Football isn’t rocket science. We feel if we work harder than the opposition, the ability we have throughout the squad can win us matches.”