Caley Thistle manager John Hughes has warned any January signings must be ready to immediately step into his starting line-up.
Defender Graeme Shinnie and attacker Billy Mckay will leave the club when their contracts run out in the summer while a further seven players will be free agents at the end of the season.
Hughes has yet to add to his squad since the transfer window opened at the beginning of the month, with attacker Ibra Sekajja the only player to have left the club.
Former Crystal Palace forward Sekajja struggled to make an impact at the Caledonian Stadium after joining in October, making just four substitute appearances, and has since been training with rivals Ross County.
The manager said: “If we are going to bring anyone in during the window, we want to bring one in who will go right into my first-team. He has to be better than the players sitting on the bench.
“I’ve still got players such as Liam Polworth who has found himself sitting in the stand, but I still think he’s got a massive part to play.
“If we were to look to bring another one in, we would have to decide whether they are better than players such as Nick Ross and Danny Devine. If not, he’s just going to be sitting in the stands as these players deserve a chance.
“Ibra is certainly good enough and we did not make a mistake bringing him to the club.
“He can score goals, and he’s sharp enough. But he plays in a style that’s similar to Billy and Marley Watkins, he wants to go over the top with his pace and get in.
“We had to be fair with him. It’s all about playing time, and we couldn’t guarantee him that.
“If we were to look to bring another player in, it would be the same thing again unless we could get a player who could go into the first-team.”
One player who could be given the chance to make an impact later this season is Canadian attacker Calum Ferguson, who is currently in Jamaica attempting to help his country qualify for the under-20s World Cup in New Zealand in May.
The Inverness-born attacker, who qualifies to play for Canada due to his mother being from Toronto, will return to the Caley Jags at the end of the month following a series of qualifiers against Mexico, Cuba, Honduras, El Salvador and Haiti.
Hughes believes the experience will stand the 19-year-old in a fine position to compete for a first-team place with Caley Thistle on his return.
Hughes added: “He’s away for a month and it’ll do him good. Fergie is an infectious character with his natural enthusiasm. He’s a sniffer of goals.
“He needs to improve on his all-round play but no footballer is ever the finished article – even at the age of 35.
“The experience will do him the world of good. We’ll see how he does when he comes back. I’d like to think he’ll get a chance before the end of the season.”