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Pursuit of points top of agenda after injury for Caley Thistle skipper Sean Welsh

Caley Thistle's Sean Welsh, right, challenges Queen of the South's Willie Gibson in last weekend's 2-2 draw.
Sean Welsh in action for Caley Thistle.

Caley Thistle captain Sean Welsh has played through the pain barrier to help keep the Highlanders in the Championship title chase.

The 31-year-old suffered a nasty ankle injury in last month’s Scottish Cup replay against Morton.

Sean Welsh wins a header against Hamilton’s Marley Redfern.

The classy midfielder returned two weeks ago when he played the last 17 minutes of the 2-2 home league draw against Raith Rovers.

He followed on by playing the entire 90 minutes of last weekend’s 2-2 draw against visitors Queen of the South, a result which leaves ICT four points behind leaders Arbroath.

Ankle injury was blow for skipper

With ICT preparing to face former manager John Hughes’ Dunfermline Athletic in Fife on Saturday, Welsh explained how the recent Rovers game maybe was a step too soon in terms of his comeback.

He said: “It’s good to be back. It’s never nice to miss games through injuries.

“Coming on against Raith was maybe a game too soon for me, but I was just desperate to get back and try to help the team. I’m starting to get back up to speed and building the strength up in my ankle, but I’m getting there.

“It was an ankle injury from the Scottish Cup replay at Morton. I opened up the ligaments and it gave me a bit more bother than I first anticipated.

“I feel much better after getting 90 minutes under my belt against Queen of the South on Saturday. I just keep working away to get as much strength back into my ankle, while building up my fitness.

“I’d only trained a couple of days ahead of the Queen of the South game, but I strapped it up and pushed on through it. I’m just eager to play on and help the team.”

Caley Jags aim to quieten home fans

ICT now hit the road for successive league matches away to Dunfermline and Kilmarnock.

The Pars, who are bottom of the pack on goal difference, scored an unexpected 1-0 home win against Hamilton last weekend to remain firmly in the survival fight.

With fans now back in the stadium, Welsh aims to keep the home supporters quiet by grasping control of the contest.

He said: “Every team is difficult in this league and we know Dunfermline are hard to play against. We know that from the last time we were down there.

“They got a good win last week and they have a good fan base at home, so they’ll be desperate to build on that result. We will go there and be ready for what’s going to come our way.

“We know, with the situation they find themselves in, we can use that against them. If we can get a goal up early on, hopefully the fans will be on their backs and that could help us.”

Inner focus can spur Inverness on

This rearranged game against Dunfermline on Scottish Cup weekend is the only Championship game on and it offers Inverness the chance to move to within one point of top spot before their trip to Killie a week on Saturday.

Welsh wants a victory to kickstart a winning run which would almost certainly see them returning to the summit in the coming weeks.

He added: “We know what this league is all about, it’s always tight and it’s like that at the top and bottom again this season.

Dunfermline scored a 2-1 victory in Inverness on November 13, the day after former ICT manager John Hughes was announced as Peter Grant’s successor.

“Every team is taking points from each other. We’ve stumbled a bit lately with too many draws, but we just need to put in a strong performance at Dunfermline, get the victory and take it from there.

“All of the top five have got a really good chance. If a team can put three or four solid wins on the board then they’ll go top. We can only deal with ourselves.

“We have two difficult games away now, but they’re good games to play in at the same time. If we can get the results, we can pull away from the teams round about you. We want to get back to winning ways and we’re ready for the challenges to come.”

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