Tom Walsh expects Dunfermline Athletic to come at Caley Thistle all guns blazing in their bid to get off the foot of the Championship this afternoon.
The Inverness winger insists the Highland team, who are one point behind leaders Kilmarnock, must match their fired-up opponents who are on the hunt for first league win of the season.
The sides drew 0-0 at East End Park in September, but it is Billy Dodds’ side flying high, while the Pars have toiled and have not won an away league game in over a year.
Fifers fired up for first league win
Walsh knows how much this match matters to the Fifers, but is also keen to get Caley Thistle winning again after four games without a victory.
Speaking before Hughes was confirmed as their opponents’ new boss, he said: “It’s massive for us. We’re back at home against a team scrapping for points. It will be really tough.
“Dunfermline have got good players who can hurt us. They will feel they should be higher up the league, so this is a big game for them, but it’s massive for us as well. We want to get back to winning ways.
“I expect them to come up and fight tooth and nail. I have been in teams when you’re down there and you feel you should be higher up the table. They will want to kick-start their season. It was a tough game at East End Park, so we are under no illusions how difficult it will be.
“Dunfermline will be looking for that win and then to go on a wee run. We hope that won’t be on Saturday and ensure we are prepared for it because we also want to get back to winning ways.”
Ready for whatever game Pars play
With ICT looking to respond following the 2-2 draw at Ayr United last week, Walsh feels they have the game to deal with whatever style of play Dunfermline ask of them.
He added: “We have shown we can cope with different parts of the game. We can play some nice stuff as well as grinding it out at times. Whatever they throw at us, we will need to be prepared for both sides of the game.
“Our home games especially are our bread and butter. We want to get three points, especially up here, so hopefully we can get the momentum going again.”
Tunnel vision so important to ICT
Despite being on the coat-tails of pacesetters Kilmarnock, the 25-year-old stressed the importance of Inverness not getting too far ahead of themselves and only looking at their next challenge.
He said: “We are not even looking towards the turn of the year. We really are just looking at our next game. Our training and work are focused only on that.
“You can’t look too far ahead. We will focus on Saturday only and trying to get three points again.”
A strong opening half and goals from Sean Welsh and Michael Gardyne gave ICT a 2-1 lead at Ayr last week before the Honest Men hit back through Paddy Reading for a share of the spoils.
Walsh felt it was a golden opportunity missed. He added: “We were disappointed and frustrated. We played some great stuff, some nice attacking football in the first half and created a number of chances.
“The second half was different. Ayr stepped it up and were winning more second balls, pegging us back a bit.
“Having played so well in the first half, it was frustrating to not come away with the three points. We have dusted ourselves down and we will go again on Saturday.”