Caley Thistle are to finalise pre-contract agreements with at least two incoming players in the next couple of weeks.
In addition, new contract offers were extended to goalkeeper Owain Fon Williams, Danny Devine and Liam Polworth. We know that Danny’s decision is imminent and, following positive discussions with Liam and his agent today, we can confirm that we have agreed terms with Liam regarding a 3 year deal meaning he will be at the club until the summer of 2019.
Seven other players are already contracted for the new season. The management team has identified the players within the existing squad they want to retain next season and approaches will be made in the coming week, after which contract offers will be agreed. Other members of the squad will be playing in our remaining games for the opportunity to stay at Inverness, so it is important they do all they can to catch the eye.
Squad stability has played a massive part in our recent success and we need to build on that and retain existing key players wherever possible.
In saying that…the forthcoming departure to Dundee of Danny Williams and James Vincent is freeing up squad spots for new recruits. At the instigation of the management team Danny was offered a new deal in mid December, but this was not taken up. We wish them both well, they have made a big contribution since joining the club in the summer of 2013 and we have great respect for both.
Steps have been taken to improve club recruitment after the unavoidable loss of Graeme Shinnie, Marley Watkins and Edward Ofere. Success puts our players on the radar of others and we must replace them within the budgetary constraints of the club. This happens in football and we are no different to many other clubs in that respect. We know the next diamonds are out there - we just need to seek them out, take them in and polish them up as we have done in the past.
After winning the Scottish Cup and qualifying for Europe, this season has seen the club’s largest-ever playing budget. The cost of a 25 strong first team pool was far in excess of anything we have experienced at the club, but it was deemed necessary under the circumstances.
Eleven of the first team squad were out injured simultaneously earlier in the season and key players Gary Warren, Josh Meekings, Richie Foran and Dave Raven have only recently returned to full fitness. Dean Brill is back training and getting valuable game time with the under 20’s and Aaron Doran is making excellent progress having been unavailable since our European games. Alex Fisher has returned to the club after spending some rehab time at St Georges, down south, and is also progressing well and we are entertaining high hopes that he may return before the end of the season.
Consistency of player availability has long been a feature of our success in recent years, but unluckily we were blighted by numerous injuries to key players this time round. Unfortunately, as we all know and appreciate, players will sustain injuries and there’s little point in feeling sorry for ourselves over this. It is the responsibility of the management team to replace them and the Board have provided the finances required this season to enable this.
Miles Storey has proved to be a good loan signing. We paid a healthy fee to Swindon Town in January to extend his loan to the end of the season, which was a further financial investment. We would like to keep Miles, and we know he is keen to stay. However, given his age his parent club will have first call on him so this is out of our hands at the moment.
The management team were provided with their initial budget for next season some time ago and following last weekend’s excellent result against Kilmarnock we can now be fully focused on our plans for the next campaign and ensure that the signings of both current and new players are made as soon as possible.
It was a disappointment to us all to miss out on the Premiership’s Top Six. This provides attendant challenges but on a more positive note, next seasons budget will remain similar to this seasons initial outlay.
We will, as ever, be pushing hard to finish as high as possible and endeavour to bring some cheer to our fans.
We thank you for your continued support which we value greatly and look forward to next season.