Billy Dodds has hailed the impact of sports scientist Ross Hughes as Caley Thistle seek to hit the ground running this season.
The new head coach at Inverness made Hughes one of his key summer signings, having been impressed with him when they delivered success at Ross County when Dodds was assistant manager to Jim McIntyre.
Worthwhile pre-season bounce games against Clach, Forres Mechanics and Aberdeen preceded Tuesday’s impressive 2-0 Premier Sports Cup victory over League One Peterhead.
Dodds believes Hughes demanding the best from the group is already showing signs of success.
He said: “The boys are looking fit and strong. Ross Hughes, my head of performance who I brought in, has worked hard with them. He has been very specific with them and I think the boys enjoyed that.
“That’s the main part. You can get a head of performance and players don’t take to that, but Ross is excellent at his job and the boys love him.
“He can mix with them and has got a good personality and the boys like that. They just want to work hard and get the right information. I think they are embracing it.”
On Monday, former Scotland, Rangers, St Mirren and Kilmarnock defender Kirk Broadfoot joined ICT on a one-year deal.
He follows on-loan Norwich City midfielder Reece McAlear, wingers Tom Walsh and Michael Gardyne, strikers Manny Duku and Billy Mckay in moving to the Highland capital club.
Board have backed Dodds’ targets this summer
Hughes is able to play his part once Inverness get signings on board, with Dodds carrying out the recruitment process in tandem with sporting director and former boss John Robertson.
Dodds said: “I have added Ross, because I think that’s beneficial, then I pick the players, along with John Robertson, which we have been working hard on.
“Then we try and get the players and sometimes you get knock-backs or rejected, sometimes you get the player.
“I am quite happy with what I’ve got. I have got hungry players. Players with experience, but with a desire to do well. The youth give you energy, with the ability and technique to go with that.
“The board, the chairman Ross Morrison, and Scot Gardiner, the chief executive, have been brilliant for me since I came in. They have backed me. I can only come up with who I think is right for the football club.”
Dodds warns of Stirling’s potential
On the pitch, the focus switches to the visit of Stirling Albion to the Caledonian Stadium on Saturday as Inverness target two Premier Sports Cup wins from two in Group A, which is led by perfect starters, Hearts.
League Two Stirling began their campaign with a 3-2 victory over League One hot tips Cove Rangers at the weekend.
Dodds warned: “It’s an opportunity and it’s good to have two home games in a row, but you have to give these teams real credit.
“Jim McInally’s Peterhead made it tough and worked ever so hard, and you expect that.
“You have to remember Stirling Albion already have three points on board, so they will see this as an opportunity.
“However, I want my boys to think the same way, and I’m sure they will.”
Tuesday’s scorers Duku and Aaron Doran both sustained knocks in midweek, but should be fit and available for the Binos tie.
Peterhead and Cove Rangers, who have both lost their first two games, meet in the other Group A encounter this Saturday.