Caley Thistle have handed former Aberdeen striker Jay Emmanuel-Thomas the chance to try to win a deal at the Championship club.
New manager Duncan Ferguson, who this week snapped up former St Johnstone midfielder David Wotherspoon until January as his first capture, is looking for more creativity and firepower to help climb up the table from ninth spot.
Inverness, who head to fellow strugglers Morton on Saturday, have been looking at free agents and the forward – dubbed JET – is bidding to land a contract in the Highlands.
Since leaving Aberdeen in April 2022, the 32-year-old has been at Indian Super League side Jamshedpur, but the ex-Arsenal youth is back in the north of Scotland aiming to impress.
Emmanuel-Thomas scored just once after signing for the Dons on a two-year contract in the summer of 2021.
He had impressed at previous Premiership club, Livingston, but had his contract at Pittodrie terminated the April after his arrival.
The Englishman, whose other clubs include Ipswich Town and Bristol City, scored two goals in 17 Jamshedpur appearances.
Fitness is key for Emmanuel-Thomas
Former Everton hitman Ferguson, preparing for his third game in charge at Caley Jags, hopes the powerful forward impresses enough to show he’s worth a place in his squad at the Caledonian Stadium.
Ferguson said: “We’ve brought in Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, or JET.
“Jay’s a big lad with a good pedigree. He came through at Arsenal as a youth.
“He’s been around a bit, but he’s a good big striker.
“His fitness is not quite there yet, but we’re working on that.
“He will get a contract if he shapes up.”
Emmanuel-Thomas was capped for England at under-17 and under-19 level.
Former Aberdeen manager Jim Goodwin spoke of concerns over the player’s fitness levels during his time at the Dons.
Wotherspoon impresses Ferguson
Ferguson, meanwhile, is over the moon to have landed League Cup and double Scottish Cup-winner Wotherspoon on a short-term agreement until the new year.
The Canadian international, who was released by St Johnstone in the summer, played 45 minutes in the midweek North of Scotland Cup semi-final penalty shoot-out defeat at Nairn County.
He showed up well on trial with ICT, having reportedly been offered a deal at Championship rivals Dunfermline Athletic.
Despite suffering a knock at Nairn, he should get the green light for Greenock and a chance to tackle Morton.
The Inverness manager said: “I think we have a quality signing there.
“I done my homework on David and spoke to a couple of people at St Johnstone, who spoke very highly of him.
“He scored in a bounce game against Ross County last week. He also did well enough on Wednesday, so he will be a good addition.
“It is easy to drift out of football. You are easily forgotten about. Before you know it, the phone never rings.
“I’m glad we have got him back into football because he is a quality player. I’m sure he will do very well for us.
“He’s going to help the group. David’s got experience and is a winner – he’s won trophies at St Johnstone.
“He’s not played a lot of football, but he will get fitter and fitter. David’s got quality and that will help us going forward.”
Concerns over central defenders
Caley Thistle are, however, counting the cost of several injuries stacking up at once, with the main concern being at the heart of the defence.
Ferguson added: “Morgan Boyes has a really bad eye infection. He’s seeing a specialist. They think he has scraped his cornea and it’s badly infected. He’s up against it, just after he’d helped us keep a clean sheet.
“Danny Devine has also come off with a swollen knee, so he’s also struggling.
“We’re up against it at the centre-half positions. We’ve just kept our first clean sheet of the season, but that happens in football.”
Welsh and Doran suffer fresh blows
Captain Sean Welsh, who returned to the team at Nairn after being sidelined from mid-July, is out with a back injury for at least this weekend.
Wide midfielder Aaron Doran, Ferguson confirmed, will also be out for a few months with a hamstring injury sustained in the goalless league draw with Partick Thistle recently.