Inverness Caledonian Thistle's hard work leading to impressive defensive record, says head coach Dodds
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Billy Dodds reckons Caley Thistle’s formidable clean sheet record will be the talk of Championship dressing rooms.
He also knows it will take endless hard work to keep it that way.
The Caley Jags manager is convinced his team will run the risk of faltering from current table-topping form the moment they let that work ethic slip.
In five of their first six league matches, opponents have drawn a blank in front of goal against performances characterised by a willingness to defend as a unit, and from the front.
The cohesion has come, arguably, at a cost to goals for, but few Inverness supporters will be grumbling as their team prospers and racks up the points.
“I think anybody playing us now realises it will be tough, whether we’re at home or away,” Dodds said.
“They know they have to really work to break us down. They probably talk among themselves, as staff and players, about how we’re working so hard as a unit, and that we’re really hard to beat. I’m sure Queen of the South will be saying that they’re going to have to match that and more to beat us.
”We’ve been brilliant so far and won important games. I’d like to get a performance like the Partick Thistle second half every week, but more often it isn’t going to happen like that.
“I have to realise that as a manager. As long as I get three points and my team gives me that work ethic and determination each week, I’ll be happy.”
Dodds is not one to be found parroting the ‘one game at a time’ cliché, adding: “How do we keep it going? It’s just realising what our end goal is. We want this club at least in the play-offs.
“That’s what we are all working hard to achieve, on the training field every day and game-by-game. We all throw out the old phrases about taking it game-to-game, but I don’t want to say that.
“There’s an end goal. We know what’s there for us and what’s at stake.”
Michael Gardyne is back in contention for a Caley Thistle start after shaking off his recent knock.
The ex-Ross County winger hasn’t featured in September, but trained yesterday.
Dodds said: “Midge was looking good, I’ll just say that. He came through it with flying colours.
“He was big loss so it is great to have Michael Gardyne back in contention – and he’s as loud as ever.”
Dodds and his staff will settle team selection issues 24 hours earlier than they did last week.
Ahead of Queen of the South’s visit, Aaron Doran and Shane Sutherland are nursing unspecified knocks after being taken off during last weekend’s 0–0 draw away to Dunfermline.
Dodds, who hinted others may be doubts as well, added: “There are a few of them touch and go – and tomorrow is a big day for them.
“One or two will get a fitness test. We left a couple of them last week until the Saturday morning, but we’ll find out tomorrow and that will help us make our decision. When Aaron and Shane came off last week it upset us a little bit, but we have enough to handle it.”