Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell has hinted some of the Staggies’ youngsters could be given their opportunity to impress in today’s IRN-BRU Cup tie against Montrose at Victoria Park.
County are strong favourites to progress to the quarter-finals at the expense of the Gable Endies, who are bottom of League 1.
Kettlewell and fellow co-manager Steven Ferguson have shuffled their side for their victories against Hearts colts and Raith Rovers in the competition so far with a number of youngsters staking their claim by helping the Staggies’ reserves lift the North of Scotland Cup against Caley Thistle last weekend.
Midfielder Dylan Dykes was among County’s impressive performers with a double with right back Tom Kelly also on the scoresheet.
Kettlewell said: “There are definitely some guys that are chapping on the door. They are under no illusions that they will have to be as good, if not better than the guys that are currently holding the positions.
“What they have certainly done is put themselves out there for Steven and myself to take note of the fact there have been some standout performances.
“It would be silly of me to go into individuals but there are levels there that have been surpassed from my time working with these guys.
“This weekend might be a point we get to use some of these guys and we start to incorporate some of them within our squad. We will see that as a good opportunity.
“It’s so important we give everybody that fair crack of the whip. That includes the young players as well.
“We are not going to just hand out opportunities if they haven’t been doing well in our eyeline over the last couple of the weeks.
“But we have seen people that have been trying to step up to the plate from within our own first team squad, and also some of the younger players, while the guys in possession of the jerseys just now are keeping up really good standards.” Despite County enjoying home advantage over their lower league opponents today, Kettlewell remains wary of Stewart Petrie’s side, adding: “It’s going to be a difficult enough game because Montrose will probably change their style of play a little bit. They have a good mixture of experience and youth.
“We give them a lot of respect and if we don’t prepare properly for this it’s inevitable what happens.
“We have seen these games where it becomes really sticky and really difficult. We want to give ourselves every single chance we can to get into the next round of the cup.”