Caley Jags defender Kevin McHattie insists keeping up the pressure on his team-mates is the best way to force his way into the Highlanders’ starting line-up.
McHattie has made just six appearances so far this season, but filled in at left back for injured Carl Tremarco in the 2-0 home victory over Dunfermline last weekend.
Although skipper Tremarco is fit again to play in today’s visit of Arbroath, McHattie hopes to maintain his place.
He said: “Everyone is pushing for places and the manager would say the same.
“If someone is looking sharp in training, whoever else is in their position needs to up their game to stay in the team or get in the team. We’re a close-knit bunch of boys, which helps massively.
“At this time of year, there are loads of games coming up and you never know when we will pick up injuries. It’s tough, but it’s good to be in the kind of environment where everyone is pushing to play.
“It is hard, but in football you take everything on the chin and get on with it. I obviously want to play and play as much as I can.”
McHattie has also featured in central defence and central midfield this season and the former Hearts and Kilmarnock player is determined to show he is ready to fill in at any given moment.
The 26-year-old added: “The boys have been doing very well and it is just injuries that play their part. I’ve just got to be ready to see where I can step in and do a job.
“In the last month, I’ve played two games and come off the bench a few times.
“The call can come at any time, so you work hard and take as much from training as you can.
“It is hard to get your match sharpness from training, but you just do what you can do.”
McHattie joined Inverness in January following a short spell with Irish side Derry City.
Caley Jags go into today’s visit of the Red Lichties with a four-point cushion in second place.
At the halfway stage, they have six more points than they did at this time last season and McHattie feels the Highlanders’ improvement in the last 12 months is evident.
He added: “I came up in December, before I signed, and they were beaten 3-2 by Falkirk.
“You can see the boys have come a long way since then in how they manage games.
“We’re now looking more solid at the back and in midfield.
“We’re scoring goals as well as keeping clean sheets. We just need to build from there.”