Inverness midfielder won't be blown away by Arbroath after Arctic circle experience
CHARLIE TRAFFORD reckons he can handle a freezing day out in Arbroath - after a spell playing in Lapland.
The three-times capped Canadian international starred for Finland’s RoPS, just four miles south of the Arctic circle, back in 2017.
It proved a short-lived summer stint with the remote top-flight outfit before joining Caley Thistle, but Trafford had still never experienced cold like it.
Team-mates have warned how windy Arbroath’s Gayfield Park can be, but Trafford feels ready for his first visit.
The 27-year-old recalled: “I played in a couple of games in Finland that were -10 and -15 – I didn’t think that was possible!
“There were a few cold ones. The wind was actually not as bad there as it can be in Scotland, but when you get to the beginning or end of the season in Finland there are a few cold days.
“You just don’t stop running. You can’t stop – if you stop you freeze!
“I don’t think you ever get fully used to playing in wind though, it’s a horrible thing.
“Both teams are playing in the same conditions, so it’s something we both need to deal with on Saturday. There’s no excuses going down there.
“We just need to go down and keep digging out results, and rolling onwards as a group.”
While Gayfield will be a new experience, Trafford - home man of the match in Saturday’s defeat to Dundee United is well-warned about the part-timers capabilities.
He said: “They seem to be doing quite well, digging out results and we’ve been warned they are a hard team who carry the confidence of getting promoted last season.
“It’s never going to be easy. I’ve heard things about going down there, and how it’s tough to play there.
“But we expect to win. When we are fighting for promotion, we should be thinking we need to beat every team.
“It’s a chance to get back to winning ways and get that confidence going again.
“It’s a long season and we are going to lose games and have some tough times. It’s a matter of how we bounce back from that.”
Trafford viewed Caley Thistle as a team in development during his first two seasons in Inverness.
Now, though, he feels they are far closer to being the finished article.
He said: “I keep saying, it’s a great group. Everyone seems to be together and fighting for it. We have that belief in what we want to do.
“The last two years I have been here, there have been moments where it has felt like a bit of a rebuild.
“It’s a strong group, and a big squad.
“We have got a handful of injuries right now, and there are still boys to step up.
“We obviously want to be higher in the league, but we are only a few points back with lots of games to go.
“We are confident, and we’re quite happy with how things are going.
“We want to get enough points to go into the second half of the season close enough to striking distance of Dundee United.”
Trafford’s own form is strong at present, with manager John Robertson recently saying consistency was all that was lacking in his game.
But he stressed: “I have had issues here where I’ve not had enough runs of games. Any time I have got a few games, I have been able to step up and do my job.
"We had a good run at the end of last season when I played every game.
“It’s hard, it’s something people don’t really see from the outside when you are in and out of the team.
“Your confidence is up and down, so I have just been working on trying to stay level.
“Whenever I’m called upon, I’m ready. Like I have done in the last few games, I can come in and once I’m in I’ll just try to keep my spot and do what I can for the team.”