Ross County co-manager Stuart Kettlewell says the Staggies’ shortage of defensive options could present teenager Tom Grivosti with a start in Saturday’s Championship game against Morton.
Englishman Grivosti was taken off the bench for his County debut early in the second half of last weekend’s 2-1 win over Ayr United on Saturday, following hamstring injuries picked up by Liam Fontaine and Callum Morris. Kettlewell has confirmed both players are likely to miss this weekend’s visit of the Greenock side, while skipper Marcus Fraser remains short of match fitness following a shin fracture.
Kettlewell says 19-year-old Grivosti, previously with Bolton Wanderers, has played his way into contention following a strong response to being challenged to improve his work-rate by the Staggies co-managers.
Kettlewell said: “We said at the start of the season that everybody has an identity. We got to a stage on Saturday where we had no centre backs and we had a young kid on the bench.
“We could have changed three or four positions to get an end result that would have been more experienced players on the pitch, but I think Steven Ferguson and I had the courage of our convictions. We trust the young lad, we know he’s got good potential. It was a high-pressure game, particularly at that stage, and he was playing against a guy that’s scoring at will in Lawrence Shankland. I thought he dealt with it tremendously.
“We actually had a question mark with young Tom a couple of months ago. We didn’t feel he was working hard enough, I’m sure he won’t mind me saying it but we told him that. We didn’t feel he was doing enough around the football club to push on and try to get himself into the Callum Morris, Liam Fontaine and Keith Watson bracket to push these guys for a place in the team.
“He has taken heed of it. His performances have been fantastic for Richie Brittain’s reserve team. He has been training with the first team on and off and that’s down to him. He has capabilities.”
Although he is resigned to being without Fontaine and Morris for Saturday’s visit of Ton, Kettlewell is hopeful midfielder Iain Vigurs will be fit following a calf injury, adding: “Iain has been a big player for us so hopefully he will be OK over the course of the week.
“Hamstring injuries tend to have that element of risk with them. Liam’s injury is not quite as bad as Callum’s, so we would be hoping we would have him back sooner rather than later.
“Callum’s looks like it might be a couple of weeks. That may change over the next couple of days, we just need to wait and see how it settles down.
“I think Saturday will come too soon for both of these guys.”