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Ross County manager John Hughes targeting three further January signings – with one arrival imminent this week

John Hughes.
John Hughes.

Ross County manager John Hughes expects to make a further addition to his squad ahead of Saturday’s Premiership trip to Rangers.

The Staggies have already brought in midfielders Tony Andreu and Mohamed Maouche in Hughes’ first transfer window since succeeding Stuart Kettlewell last month.

Hughes has had midfielders David Cancola and Sam Stanton on trial, but the latter is on the verge of joining Irish side Dundalk.

Hughes says his focus is now on strengthening other areas of the pitch, with a goalkeeper, defender and attacker all on his radar.

He said: “I am hoping to get some more in. We are working on something this week, and maybe another two after that.

Ross Laidlaw

“We need another goalkeeper as backup. Big Ross has been fantastic and he has been up there as one of our best players since I came in. He’s very consistent but he needs challenged.

“Young Ross Munro has got a big future, but I want that goalkeeper to push Ross all the way and fight for the number one jersey.

“The other one will be a defender who can play in a number of positions across the back. Like every other club we are still looking for a striker.

“It has been difficult with everything that is going on but the chairman has been unbelievable.

“He is relentless in his pursuit of getting it right. I have asked him if we need to move on one or two on but he said no.”

The Staggies are hopeful forward Ross Stewart will be available for the trip to Ibrox after being sidelined with a hamstring injury since late December.

Hughes concedes the striker will move on when his contract runs out at the end of the season but insists the Staggies are in full control of whether he leaves during the January transfer window.

He added: “Ross Stewart is coming back so hopefully he can get a couple of games in. I think Ross will be moving on at the end of the season, but I would like to think we can do good business.

“If a good bid comes in and Ross fancied it, then it would be our decision with what happens. If Ross is here to the end of the season and we can get another striker in, then so be it and the chairman said it would be great for us.

“We have so many injured players but that is changing. We want competition for places and that’s why every day they have to make sure they are the best on the training pitch.

“You can’t rest on their laurels as I am constantly watching. As a manager if you think you can get better players you have to do it. It’s not personal. As long as you are making the best decisions for the club we have to make them.”

One player County will not be signing is former Hibernian and Dundee United midfielder Stanton, with Hughes disappointed at not being able to reunite with the 26-year-old.

Sam Stanton.

Hughes added: “He has decided to go elsewhere. He was a young kid at Hibs with me that had everything in front of him. You could see the quality he had.

“For some reason he has never really fulfilled that potential. He was always in my book for when he became available. When I brought him here on trial he enjoyed it.

“I told him he needed to play football in the Premiership and make a name for himself and be the Sam Stanton we all knew as a young kid. He was right up for it.

“It just so happens that there’s another club come in for him and he felt that’s where he wants to be. There are no hard feelings.”

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