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Caley Thistle take players from Portugal and Czech Republic on trial as Duncan Ferguson looks to bolster squad

Growing injury list prompts swift action as Inverness want one new player in for Saturday's match at Morton.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager Duncan Ferguson.
Caley Thistle boss Duncan Ferguson. Image: SNS

Caley Thistle are handing players from Portugal and the Czech Republic a chance to win deals to help amid the Championship club’s injury crisis.

Frustrated manager Duncan Ferguson has revealed midfielder Charlie Gilmour is out for the remainder of the season with a knee injury, while winger Nathan Shaw is sidelined for two weeks with a hamstring issue.

It comes just after Leeds and Scotland under-21 defender Jeremiah Chilokoa-Mullen has returned to his parent club, having had his loan with ICT cancelled following a stress fracture on his back.

Tuesday’s 0-0 home draw against Dunfermline Athletic leaves ICT ninth in the table, two points behind the Pars and seven ahead of Arbroath.

Nathan Shaw will be out for two weeks with a hamstring injury. Image: SNS

Gaffer aims to get one in for Saturday

Ahead of Saturday’s crunch league tussle at Morton, Ferguson has been working around the clock to bolster his wafer-thin options with free agents as they bid to avoid the relegation play-off place they occupy right now.

He said: “We have been trying hard to get some players in.

“I have a lad in from Portugal on trial and I will have another from the Czech Republic flying in on Thursday night or Friday.

“We are also trying to use all our contacts in Scotland to see whether we can bring in someone from other teams.

“Of course, we are all chasing the same players.

“Our injury list is bad at the moment. We have only named four outfield players on the bench this week.

“On Tuesday, I just had an attacker on the bench, with no defensive cover.

“It has been tough, but we’re out there trying as best we can and hopefully we can get at least one in before Saturday. The club will back me on that.”

Midfielder Charlie Gilmour, left, will miss the rest of this season with a knee injury. Image: SNS

Players ‘own worst enemies’ – boss

Full-back Lewis Nicolson, winger Luis Longstaff and forward Harry Lodovica were already sidelined long-term, but Gilmour and Shaw add to the list.

Defenders Nikola Ujdur and Morgan Boyes are out with hamstring and knee injuries, while midfielder Roddy MacGregor is out with a foot problem.

Right-back Wallace Duffy has barely trained but played against Dunfermline even after receiving treatment for an arm injury, while sriker Alex Samuel is patched up and playing with a hand injury.

The good news for Saturday is on-loan Dundee midfielder Max Anderson returns from his two-match suspension.

Ferguson said: “Sometimes players are their own worst enemies when they don’t tell you exactly what’s wrong with them.

“But fair play to them – they are doing everything they can to keep our club in the division.

“It’s going to be a long hard road, as it has been since I’ve been here, but we’re still fighting and I’m certainly one of them. We will fight right to the end.”

Ferguson ready for survival fight

When Ferguson replaced Billy Dodds as manager in September, ICT were winless and cut adrift in 10th spot.

Despite now only being ninth, a win at Morton could see ICT rise two places depending on how Queen’s Park and Dunfermline fare against Airdrie and Ayr respectively.

Ferguson stressed his squad are giving everything they can to drag the side away from danger.

He added: “We want wins, but it is all hands on deck. I am down to the bare bones. The players are 100% working their socks off.

“When I came into the club, we were adrift at the bottom of the league with one point from six games, having scored three goals in six games.

“We have come a long way and it has been a struggle to try and get away from the bottom of the league.

“We have not quite managed to do it. There is still a lot of football to be played.

“I am worried about the injury list, but we must roll our sleeves up and fight.”

Morton ‘put you under pressure’

Morton, managed by former ICT midfielder Dougie Imrie, are on a stunning 16-match unbeaten run, with a 0-0 draw at second place Raith Rovers their latest fine result.

They have taken four points from Inverness this term, including a 0-0 draw on December 30.

Ferguson said: “The games against Morton have been tight and our draw here against them now looks like a good point.

“They have got their long throw-ins and they put you under pressure. Good luck to them, that’s their style and it’s worked for them.

“We’re undefeated with three draws in our last three games, so we’re looking forward to it. Hopefully we can get the win on Saturday.”