Ross County manager Stuart Kettlewell hopes to see the best of Lee Erwin this season after the forward returned from lockdown significantly lighter.
Erwin joined County last summer following a spell with Iranian club Tractor, however registration and injury problems left him playing catch up.
Erwin’s early-career performances for Motherwell secured a move to Leeds United in 2015, while he has also had stints at Oldham Athletic and Kilmarnock.
The Staggies boss feels the hard graft put in by Erwin in recent weeks can result in an improvement in the 26-year-old’s form, after he netted just once last term.
Kettlewell, whose side host Motherwell in their Premiership opener on Monday, said: “If you speak to anybody who has worked with Lee or come across him, Lee is ridiculously talented.
“He can do things that mesmerise us. Having watched him on a daily basis he has got a real talent and real strength.
“From speaking to Lee personally, he felt he was chasing his tail a little bit last season with not having the full pre-season.
“He has come back several kilos lighter than he was pretty much all of last season. He is moving far better about the pitch carrying a bit less weight.
“He himself just feels better for having put in the work – most of which came off his own back during the lockdown period.
“He was really fit when he came back to start the pre-season with us.
“He has done well, we now need to transmit that on to the pitch and make sure he’s getting goals and assists because that’s where he will be judged.
“By getting a full pre-season under his belt I hope we will see a slightly different player.”
County are closing in on the loan signing of Celtic goalkeeper Ross Doohan, after the Hoops completed a deal for Greek goalkeeper Vasilis Barkas earlier this week.
Doohan, who has spent the last two seasons on loan at Ayr United, will compete with Ross Laidlaw and Ross Munro for the number one jersey at Dingwall.
Munro spent last term on loan at Raith Rovers, however Kettlewell says he will be given the chance to stake his claim despite Doohan’s imminent arrival.
Kettlewell added: “Ross Munro is part of our goalkeeping squad here, and he gets to pitch his hat into the ring.
“He has been injured for a large chunk of pre-season with a medial ligament injury.
“He just started back from that last week, but he goes in the mix with the other two senior goalkeepers.
“We look to see how we can get the best out of these guys.
“Ross will be given a chance, the same as the other guys, to try and prove he is the best candidate to take up the position.”