Former Caley Thistle midfielder Barry Wilson reckons his former club must act fast to replace Billy Mckay before the transfer window closes on Monday.
Mckay’s imminent departure to Championship club Wigan Athletic leaves Inverness devoid of attackers with time running out to find a replacement.
Although midfielders Marley Watkins, James Vincent and Aaron Doran can play the position, manager John Hughes’ only natural centre forward options are youngsters Calum Ferguson and Ali Sutherland.
The Caley Jags are riding high in the Premiership this season, and currently sit in third place.
But Wilson reckons Hughes must look outwith his squad to replace Mckay, who has scored 10 goals this term.
Wilson said: “It’s just come at the wrong time. Billy has picked up his form again lately, and I think Caley Thistle have got a real chance of finishing third if not second, which would be the best finish in the club’s history.
“The problem is they’ve got to get someone in quickly. They don’t really have a natural replacement, so it’s a massive loss if they don’t replace him.
“Time is running out although I’m sure the club has got something up its sleeve, and are going to reinvest very quickly.
“I do wonder who’s going to play up front. They have players who can go in there such as Marley Watkins and Aaron Doran. They can do a job between now and the end of the season, but only as a stop-gap. They have no natural replacement, so it will be interesting to see what happens now.”
Mckay makes the move to the English Championship having transformed his career at the Caledonian Stadium.
The 26-year-old was picked up by previous Inverness manager Terry Butcher after being released by League 2 side Northampton Town, and went on to score 62 goals in 141 appearances, becoming a Northern Ireland international during his time with the club.
Although hopeful Mckay makes the most of his opportunity, Wilson says he should be aware of the example of Adam Rooney, who struggled to make an impact in the English Championship with Birmingham City after a prominent spell at Inverness.
Wilson added: “The club’s been great for Billy, but he’s also been great for the club.
“I hope it’s the right move for Billy. It’s always a hard one, we’ve seen players go down to England before, but maybe it’s not been the right move for them.
“Adam Rooney did exactly the same thing as Billy. He wasn’t getting much chance down south with Stoke, he then came to Inverness and everything changed for him.
“However Adam went down south and wasn’t most successful, so he then came back up to Scotland where he’s a bit more suited to it, and has now scored 20 goals for Aberdeen this season.
“I worry a bit about Billy, as he’s not the most physical. Games in the Championship or League 1 are really physical encounters, and that’s not Billy’s game. It’s not to say he won’t do well, but it must be a slight concern.
“There are others who have really kicked their careers on after leaving Inverness and are getting rave reviews. So the club can use that to their advantage when bringing players in, although I’m not sure if it’s the market John will look at.”