Ross County loanee Nathan Baxter is not short of inspiration in pursuit of his dream of breaking into Chelsea’s side.
English goalkeeper Baxter is on a season-long loan at Victoria Park from the Blues, where he has been since the age of eight.
The highlight of Baxter’s youth career at Stamford Bridge came in 2016, when he helped Chelsea win the FA Youth Cup.
A number of his team-mates from that side are now prominent members of Frank Lampard’s first team and 21-year-old Baxter feels making the most of his temporary spell with the Staggies is an essential step in his bid to emulate them.
Baxter said: “I’ve had lots of chats with senior players at the club and they all advised me to go out on loan.
“The first team is made up of lads I was with since the age of eight, so it’s a great time to be a young player at Chelsea.
“In the Youth Cup-winning Chelsea side Fikayo Tomori was the centre-back, with Mason Mount in the middle and Tammy Abraham up front, so it was a pretty good youth team.
“I’m proud of what they’re doing now and makes me think if these guys have done it then it gives inspiration.
“It’s ultimately my dream to play for Chelsea but the only way I’ll be able to do that and impress the club is if I perform well here.
“While I’d love to play for the first team one day, I’m a County player now and first and foremost my job is to perform well and help us stay in the division and push for the top six.”
Shortly after making the switch to Dingwall in the summer, Baxter was forced to undergo surgery on a dislocated shoulder, which kept him out until November.
Baxter feels he is back on track, having now played 11 matches for the Staggies.
He said: “I was still getting back up to speed in my first few games because I had four months out injured, which was a long time out, but the recent games against Celtic and Rangers have helped me feel like I’m back to where I was before the injury and I’ve got more to give.”
Baxter impressed between the sticks in County’s matches against the Old Firm, but was unable to prevent the Highlanders falling to defeats on both occasions.
Baxter hopes the Staggies can build on both encouraging displays when they face Kilmarnock at Rugby Park today, adding: “Although for a young player like me it’s exciting going to places like Ibrox and Parkhead, for the club the Kilmarnock game is the most important.
“The same goes for the games to come against the likes of Livingston and St Johnstone, the teams around us, which are key.
“Rugby Park is still a difficult ground and it’s vital we perform in a similar manner to Parkhead in particular.
“If we do that we should get a positive result.”