JOHN Hughes last night assured worried Inverness Caley Thistle fans that moves were afoot to replace Wigan Athletic-bound Billy McKay.
The Inverness manager called for calm among supporters after losing the prolific Northern Ireland international for £150,000 and revealed he was weighing up potential loan signings.
But Hughes, also set to lose left-back Graeme Shinnie to Aberdeen in the summer, is now challenging existing squad members to rise to the task and lift the spirits with a rousing Highland derby win tomorrow.
McKay was expected to complete the formalities of a two-and-a-half year deal with Sky Bet Championship Wigan after medicals yesterday.
Hughes stressed: “I expect Billy to be playing for Wigan on Saturday. He was down there yesterday and got his deal done, and has been doing the medical this morning. It’s only a matter of time.
“He goes with our best wishes. It’s a great move for him and we were never going to stand in his way. The fans have to understand that as well. He’ll probably go down there on three or four times his wages. If a supporter was working for one firm and another firm came and offered them that, they would do it.
“We’re in a club that’s never going to stand in anyone’s way and, if the supporters are realistic, they’ll know it’s about time we started cashing in on our players. Sometimes your hands are tied.
“It’s a club decision, and we’ve done what we feel is right for the club.”
Hughes refused to elaborate on his loan targets but said: “Hopefully we’ll have one or two in by the end of the window.
More than likely they will be loans as that gives us a real chance to look at them, and them a chance to look at us without overly committing.
“If it doesn’t happen this
window, I still think we can get by as long as we can keep everybody injury free.
“It’s going to be right down to the bare bones, but if we keep them all injury free I think there’s a number of them that can step up to the plate in that position.
“I’m talking about guys like Aaron Doran, Marley Watkins, Ryan Christie, James Vincent and Nick Ross. The only reason you’ve not seen it is because we’ve not asked them to play that striker’s role.
“I need to be careful with what I bring to the club. I can imagine what the supporters are saying but I’m asking them for patience.”
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