Ross County co-manager Steven Ferguson says Nathan Baxter and Ross Laidlaw have an open battle to be the Staggies’ first choice goalkeeper this season.
County yesterday signed 20-year-old Baxter on a season-long loan from Chelsea, adding to the capture of Hibernian’s Ross Laidlaw on a two-year deal earlier this summer.
Ferguson and fellow co-manager Stuart Kettlewell had been seeking two goalkeepers following the departure of Scott Fox at the end of County’s Championship title winning season, with youngster Ross Munro now expected to be farmed out on loan.
With County back for the start of pre-season training today, Ferguson says both Baxter and Laidlaw have the chance to stake their claim for the gloves for County’s opening Premiership fixture on August 3.
Ferguson said: “The number one jersey is up for grabs.
“Both goalkeepers were aware when we signed them, that with Scott Fox leaving we are on the lookout for a number one.
“One of the things we wanted was that competition in the goalkeeping spot. We feel now that between Nathan and Ross we have two goalkeepers that give us a really strong position in that area.
“Scott Thomson is our goalkeeping guru at the club. He does his homework and all the back checks.
“He’s absolutely delighted with his group of goalkeepers, which includes Ross Munro, and we feel we’re in a really strong position.
“We feel we are well covered for going into the Premiership.”
Baxter has been at Stamford Bridge since the age of eight but has yet to make a first team appearance, but has enjoyed successful loan spells with English National League side Woking and League 2 outfit Yeovil Town in the last two seasons.
Ferguson added: “The appealing thing for us is that he has been out and played games. Although he is young in years, he’s relatively experienced regarding the amount of games he has played.
“He had a fantastic season last year in a team which struggled, but individually he was very good.
“He ticks all the boxes in terms of the profile of goalkeeper we were looking for, as does Ross Laidlaw as well.”
Ferguson will now turn his attention towards finding a suitable loan destination for teenager Munro, who has already commanded interest from a handful of clubs.
Ferguson added: “There are three or four clubs interested in Ross.
“We just need to make sure we make the right choice, because we believe Ross will come back and we want him back.
“We need to make sure the next stage of his development is right, and we tick all the boxes for what Ross needs.
“We will take our time in deciding what the right thing is for Ross. When that happens, we will be really happy.”