Caley Thistle have agreed a pre-contract with Elgin City forward Shane Sutherland – however the Black and Whites remain hopeful he will remain at Borough Briggs until the end of the season.
Sutherland, who is City’s leading scorer with 23 goals this term, will return to Caledonian Stadium in the summer having been released in 2013.
Elgin manager Gavin Price is eager to keep hold of Sutherland to boost City’s bid for promotion from League 2 through the play-offs, however he knows Inverness manager John Robertson could move to bring the 29-year-old this month should he lose any of his players during the January transfer window.
Price said: “It’s a domino effect. If Inverness lose one of their players, the likelihood is they will make a bigger effort to get Shane in quicker.
“John Robertson has been good enough to keep me in contact about the whole thing. It allows me to have a contingency if I need to.
“He’s got the same problem – he doesn’t know if players are going – so he’s got to do the same. We have a good relationship with Inverness.”
Price insists he does not begrudge Sutherland a return to the club where he began his career, adding: “I’m delighted for Shane. His football this season deserves it, it’s his last crack at full-time football.
“I’m certainly not in a position to stand in his way – and neither are Elgin.
“We are happy for him. If he’s going to be here until the end of the season, he’s going to be giving it everything he can to go off in style.
“Hopefully that will mean a play-off shot.”
Inverness attacker Daniel MacKay will remain with Elgin until the end of the season, having been on loan with the Moray outfit during the first half of the campaign.