Ross County will reassess the condition of their decimated squad today after an illness bug threw the Staggies’ preparations for tomorrow’s Premiership trip to Livingston into chaos.
County co-managers Steven Ferguson and Stuart Kettlewell cancelled training yesterday after 10 players reported sick with the norovirus vomiting bug, on top of injured quartet Michael Gardyne, Ross Draper, Tom Grivosti and Don Cowie.
In order to request a postponement of the fixture, County must write to the SPFL board providing doctor’s certificates for players who are not fit to play.
Ferguson says the Staggies have been left in limbo as they wait to monitor their squad today before deciding on their next move.
He said: “It isn’t that we don’t want to play the game. We started the week preparing for it, but we need players to play the game.
“We certainly don’t want to be going to a place like Livingston with a group of players who aren’t feeling well.
“We don’t know how they’re going to recover, but my understanding is it takes 48 to 72 hours before you start feeling okay again.
“That will maybe give us a problem for Saturday. After that time you are weak – you haven’t been eating and drinking normally.
“It is certainly a huge disruption to Stuart and I but it is outwith our hands, there is nothing we can really do about it. The players are all seeing their doctors and we’ll take it from there.”
The group of eight players who were fit to train yesterday included goalkeepers Nathan Baxter and Ross Laidlaw, with Ferguson and Kettlewell opting to send all remaining players home in fear of the virus spreading further.
Ferguson added: “We are decimated. As it stands, it seems to have ripped right through us. There are a few that didn’t make it in and a few that made it in who have the symptoms as well. They’ve been sent home.
“We’ve pretty much locked it down to see if we can stop the spread. We know how contagious the norovirus can be, particularly in a dressing room environment.”
County have nine players out on loan at present, meaning they could be forced to turn to a number of teenagers still at school in order to make up their squad for the trip to Livi.
Ferguson added: “Most of our young guys are out on loan at the moment. They can’t be recalled to play for the first team – they are on development loans. They can come back and play with the reserves, but that’s it.
“We are then talking schoolboys – that’s our next port of call. The ones out on loan are those closest to our first team. That’s why we’ve got them out on loan.
“The next layer of that is schoolboys.”