The last few weeks have been something of a setback in Caley Thistle’s progress.
Inverness looked to be finally getting their season on track prior to last month’s international break, after putting a poor start to the season behind them to record a six-match unbeaten run.
Since returning from that break however, Caley Jags’ form has dipped again, with the Highlanders failing to win any of their last four games.
Three of those four have been defeats, including the 2-1 loss against Highland rivals Ross County which brought their hopes of League Cup glory to an end at the quarter-final stage.
Although they rallied with some late pressure in that game, Inverness were toothless in attack in defeats against Kilmarnock and St Johnstone. Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Dundee was an improvement, but there still remained a lack of cutting edge in open play, as it took Greg Tansey’s spot-kick to rescue a point.
It goes down as a disappointing October, which began so promisingly with a 2-1 win against County in Dingwall on league business.
The season has been a bumpy affair to say the least, not least due to a horrendous catalogue of injuries that has plagued them all campaign. The selection problems stretch as far back as the unusually early pre-season campaign, with some players going into the club’s European debut against
Romanian side FC Astra on the back of very little by way of match practice. The likes of Richie Foran, Aaron Doran and Jordan Roberts have not appeared since, while several others have endured spells – drastically varying in length – on the sidelines.
The catalyst for Inverness’ revival at the beginning of September was unquestionably attacker Miles Storey, who hit the ground running following his loan move from Swindon Town.
While the return of Josh Meekings and James Vincent from injury also helped, the most glaring deficiency in Caley Jags’ frustrating early season spell was attacking threat, with only four goals in their first eight games.
That was a tally Storey single-handedly matched in his first five outings for the club, which co-incided with the Highlanders’ best part of the season so far.
Perhaps it is a measure of the reliance Caley Thistle have built on Storey that when his goals dried up, so did the team’s. While three matches without a goal is far from a barren spell for an attacker, there are a distinct lack of other forwards to relieve him of that burden: Tobi Sho-Silva is still injured having not featured since his 17-minute debut substitute appearance against Hearts, while summer signings Dani Lopez and Andrea Mbuyi-Mutombo are still a long way from convincing the Inverness support.
Storey took a knock in the latter stages of the cup quarter-final defeat, which ruled him out of the Dundee match at the weekend, and supporters will be desperate to see him back in time to lead the line against Motherwell at the weekend.
Caley Jags were also boosted by the return of Gary Warren at the weekend, with the captain playing the final 10 minutes against the Dark Blues in his first appearance for three months following a broken leg.
While most of Inverness’ woes lie further upfield, there can be no under-stating how influential a figure the Englishman will be at a time when his side arguably needs him most.