Caley Thistle head coach Billy Dodds says his players must handle being a target for their Championship opponents.
Inverness have surged to the top of the league after opening the campaign with five straight victories, with their only goal conceded so far coming in last weekend’s 3-1 win over Partick Thistle.
Caley Jags go into Saturday’s trip to Dunfermline having already established a 14-point lead over their bottom-placed opponents, who were among the teams tipped to challenge for promotion this term.
Dodds, who won the August manager of the month award, says the excellent start has created its own new pressure for his side.
Dodds said: “I think it will give teams an impetus to try and beat us.
“We’ve now got a target on our backs, everyone wants to beat us.
“We are the league leaders at this moment in time. They will be saying let’s be the first to roll this team over.
“They will be desperate to turn us over, but we are a good side so it is a match we are looking forward to. We will have to be at our best.
“I’ve got to emphasise it is only a good start, but it is nice. I knew what it was like coming here at the tail end of last season on the chase, and it’s not a nice pressure getting points. I would rather have them in the bag.
“It’s just a good start and don’t want to get carried away with it but I know the team are capable.”
Dodds described the second half display against Partick as the Highlanders’ best of the season so far, with the Caley Jags head coach insisting his players’ mental approach will be the key to them sustaining that level of performance.
He added: “In the second half against Partick Thistle, technically we were tremendous and I thought we handled every part of the game and played well in the second half. That is the standard we can get to and the boys know how well we played second half.
“If we are at it, the mental approach is perfect and we are working hard, we won’t win every game but we will get points out of games.
“As soon as we don’t have that mental and physical approach we will slip up. I am reminding them with the second half against Partick how good we can be. We were great but we want to keep the focus, not for them to relax.”
Winger Michael Gardyne, who netted the winner at Kilmarnock in his last outing, is Dodds’ main injury concern.
He added: “Michael is still touch and go, so we will give him a fitness test to see how he is.
“He rolled his ankle in training. I thought I would get him back last week but I never. I was gutted, especially after his performance against Kilmarnock.
“He is getting closer though. We have one other niggle, but apart from that we have a good squad I’m hoping everybody is fit.”