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Ross County V Inverness CT at Victoria Park : Match Preview
Published : 01 Mar 2013 23:01:26
Ross County V Inverness CT - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.
Adams backing County
Ross County manager Derek Adams is confident his players can handle the pressure of being favourites for the top-four derby with Inverness.
County are unbeaten in nine games ahead of their home clash with a side one point and one place above them in third spot in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.
The Dingwall side are aiming for their fifth consecutive win while Caley Thistle have won one out of their last eight games and Adams accepts that form puts an added onus on his players.
Adams said: "I think obviously we are the favourites because we are on a run of nine games unbeaten and we have won a lot of them. So that's fair to say.
"We have got that pressure on us. Inverness have had that pressure on them earlier this season and they won the match in the league. We will have to handle that.
"It's something we don't really want but if that's what people are saying then let's see if we can win the match and take it on our shoulders.
"But the players respond to pressure very well and they have done that this season.
"We have come off an excellent result on Tuesday night against Aberdeen.
"We were obviously the better side and just too strong for them."
Caley Thistle have won two out three derbies this season, including a Scottish Cup replay, but Adams still remembers their two victories over Terry Butcher's side in the season when Inverness were promoted.
Adams said: "We were obviously hard done by in the Scottish Cup here - they have scored two goals that were offside. I keep harping on about it but that's the fact.
"But on league business we have done well against them in the First Division. We had the upper hand then.
"We have made a number of changes to the side since we played them. I think as a team we have strengthened."
Winger Ivan Sproule was angry at being substituted at Aberdeen on Tuesday night but Adams revealed he had taken him off as a precaution following his recent hamstring problem.
Gary Glen will start on the bench again despite scoring the winner at Pittodrie.
Inverness manager Terry Butcher has healthy selection dilemmas ahead of the Highlands clash.
Gary Warren returns after missing his first match of the season on Wednesday against Dundee United through suspension but Danny Devine has performed well deputising in central defence for two games.
Captain Richie Foran is also pushing for a start after making his comeback from a knee injury in the 80th minute against United
Butcher revealed defender Gary Warren had signed a new two-year deal on the eve of the derby, highlighting his belief that football in the Highlands is continuing to rise.
He said: "Gary Warren has signed a new two-year deal. We are delighted because he is an important member of a very strong defence and he is playing the best football of his career.
"Apart from the Dundee United game when he was suspended, he has played in every minute of the previous 34 matches.
"He has got six goals as well which is impressive for a defender. He's a first-class defender and is improving all the time.
"I think it sends out a signal to a lot of people, if you come up here, see the place, play football for us, you'll soon come to love the place. You will enjoy your football and your life as well. One or two others have agreed to sign and we will announce that next week."
Butcher believes both clubs' success this season will have long-term effects.
"You look at the kids playing in the park and they have got a lot of Caley Thistle and Ross County tops on now rather than Rangers and Celtic," he said.
"I think the new generation of kids will follow us and Ross County even more because they regularly see good football and winning teams and to have two teams in the top six is pretty fantastic."