Caley Thistle defender Kevin McHattie hopes his return from injury can come at the best possible time for manager John Robertson.
McHattie has been sidelined with a hip injury since the opening day Championship defeat to Dunfermline on October 17, which forced him to undergo surgery.
Although he has still to return to training, McHattie has restarted running and hopes to return to contention by the end of this month.
With Inverness still having 16 league matches to play following a succession of postponements, starting with tonight’s home match against Alloa Athletic, McHattie hopes his return can provide a timely boost as Robertson looks to shuffle his squad.
McHattie said: “I’m feeling good. I’m looking at trying to be back in two or three weeks.
“I just want to play and get back involved.
“Even getting back training will be a massive thing for me to get back among the boys and get my sharpness back.
“It’s just baby steps for me to just take things as they come.
“The challenging part will be getting match fitness, which will be an issue.
“That will be another hurdle to try and get over once I’m back in training.
“Friendlies will be hard to come by, so with how many games are coming up there may be boys struggling with fatigue.
“It will be great for me to come back at that time and help the squad.
“It’s obviously frustrating for the boys that are fit and ready to go.
“It’s hard to train and have no games – the games are what you live for.
“It’s tough for them, but it’s good for me for games to get called off so I can get back involved sooner.”
McHattie has had the added challenge of completing his rehabilitation during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the latest lockdown having thwarted his access to pool facilities he had been using.
The 27-year-old feels he is now on the right track however, adding: “It’s going well. I was back to running a couple of weeks ago, although the pitches are a bit hard just now. It’s a bit difficult.
“I still feel it a little bit, I’m just trying to do my gym stuff to strengthen it up to what it should be.
“The surgery went well though.
“Before this lockdown I was in the pool, swimming and trying to keep my fitness up.
“I would have liked to have more time there but since then I’ve just been in the gym, and doing running the last couple of weeks.”
Despite his four-month lay-off, McHattie says his experience of dealing with a hernia problem during his time at Raith Rovers between 2016 and 2018 has helped him to deal with his most recent setback.
The former Hearts defender, who joined Inverness in January 2019, says the recovery process has been made easier by his team-mates, including Brad Mckay who he shares a flat with.
McHattie added: “It has been hard, but I have been through a lot tougher. When I was at Raith I got my hernias done and that was a nightmare.
“Inverness have got me into surgery quickly so I thank them a lot for doing that. They will get me back sooner which I obviously want as a player.
“It has been good to get back involved with the boys. It has flown to be honest, which is surprising under the circumstances we are in.
“I’m feeling well – Brad Mckay has been keeping me busy in the flat.”