CALEY Thistle are poised to complete their first signing of the January transfer window with highly-rated defender Danny Devine set to join until the end of the season.
Inverness were able to fend off interest from Scottish Premier League rivals Hibernian and Kilmarnock, as well as English Conference Premier title-chasers Wrexham, to convince the 20-year-old centre half to make the move to the Highland Capital.
Devine had been on-loan to the Welsh club from League Two side Fleetwood Town, who he joined in May last year after being released by Preston North End.
Wrexham had hoped to secure the Northern Ireland under-21 international services on a permanent basis after Fleetwood let him go on a free transfer this month, but Devine insists the lure of the SPL was too good to turn down.
"I’m unlikely to be signing with Wrexham," he said. "I’m in talks with Inverness and it looks like I’ll be joining them.
"I’ve got a big decision to make about my future and while I’ve enjoyed every moment of my time with Wrexham, I’ve been offered a brilliant opportunity to play in the SPL."
Caley Thistle manager Terry Butcher expects Devine to make the journey to Inverness next week to finalise the deal and is confident the youngster will provide suitable cover defensively, especially with a few of his rearguard close to potential suspensions due to the amount of yellow cards they have received over the course of the campaign so far.
"We’ve not signed him yet, but we have offered him a contract and he should come up next week to sign it," he said.
"I haven’t seen Danny play, but I’ve spoken to my contacts that have and they have told me that he’s a young lad who’s done very well so far.
"They all feel he could have a future in the game, so if he does well with us then there’s the chance for him to extend the length of his contract.
"He certainly comes here with a good pedigree having played international football, which is great for us.
"One or two of the boys at the back have picked up a few bookings and are close to suspensions kicking in, so I wanted to have cover in case that happens.
"Young Matthew Cooper has come in and done well, but we need to have more options and hopefully Danny can help with that."
With limited funds available, Butcher, who released both George Brislen-Hall and Andre Martins last month after both failed to make an appearance for the first-team, is unsure if he will be able to further add to his squad before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.
"I did previously say it was unlikely we would do anything in January, but a couple of players left, so we have been able to use their wages to replace them," he said.
"However, there is not a great deal of money available, so I wouldn’t think there would be anyone else at the moment, but you never know."
Butcher and his squad are currently enjoying a break, which began a little earlier than expected after Wednesday’s scheduled Highland derby fell victim to the wet weather.
He is, however, still working hard to tie down several of his squad on new contracts, the most notable of these being forward Andrew Shinnie.
A two-year deal is on the table for the former Rangers player, who has scored 11 goals this season, and Butcher still remains confident he will follow the lead of his younger brother Graeme, Josh Meekings and Nick Ross by pledging his future to Inverness.
Meanwhile, Butcher has been quick to play down speculation this week linking him with the vacant managerial position at English Championship strugglers Barnsley.
The Tykes, who are currently at the bottom of the table, dismissed previous boss Keith Hill last month and there were reports that Butcher, who has led Caley Thistle to second in the SPL and a Scottish League Cup semi-final this season, was in the frame to replace him.
However, neither Butcher or Caley Thistle have been approached by anyone from Barnsley.