Match preview: Supporters to return to the Caledonian Stadium for the first time since March as Inverness Caledonian Thistle host Raith Rovers in the Championship
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After a break for the Betfred Cup, Inverness Caledonian Thistle return to Championship action by welcoming 300 fans into the Caledonian Stadium for the first time in eight months.
Raith Rovers will visit the Highland capital for the occasion, just 11 days after the two sides went to a penalty shoot-out in the Betfred Cup group stage.
The Kirkcaldy side have been flying in the league so far, sitting at the top of the table, but after a back-and-forth draw inside the last fortnight the Caley Thistle fans could well be treated to another spectacle between two attacking teams.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle: James Vincent, Sean Welsh and David Carson are all back in training to various extents, but will not be risked from the start against Raith Rovers.
Danny Devine, Miles Storey and Aaron Doran have all featured in recent weeks, but are still building up their match sharpness and so will likely to play 90 minutes – whether that means starting on the substitute's bench or coming off at some point in the second half.
Wallace Duffy is the other man that has spent time on the treatment table recently, and John Robertson does not expect him to feature this afternoon.
Raith Rovers: Striker Lewis Vaughan will be missing for Raith after suffering a setback in his recovery from an ACL operation.
Lars Lokotsch and Kyle Benedictus are both available again though after missing the Betfred Cup match against Cowdenbeath through being cup-tied and suspended respectively.
Gozie Ugwu and 2019/20 player of the year Kieran MacDonald have both returned to training after injury and could feature at the Caledonian Stadium.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle: won 1–0 at home against East Fife, drew 3–3 away at Raith Rovers (lost 3–2 on penalties), lost 2–1 away at Hearts, won 3–1 at home against Arbroath, drew 1–1 at home against Ayr United.
Raith Rovers: won 1–0 away at Cowdenbeath, drew 3–3 at home against Inverness Caledonian Thistle (won 3–2 on penalties), won 5–0 at home against Morton, drew 1–1 away at Dundee, won 5–2 away at Queen of the South.
Head-to-head (all competitions)
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 17
Raith Rovers 5
Last five meetings
Raith Rovers 3–3 Inverness Caledonian Thistle – Betfred Cup, Tuesday, November 10, 2020
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 4–1 Raith Rovers – Betfred Cup, Saturday, July 20, 2019
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 2–1 Raith Rovers – Betfred Cup, Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 1–0 Raith Rovers – Scottish Cup, Tuesday, March 10, 2015
Inverness Caledonian Thistle 4–3 Raith Rovers – Division One, Saturday, April 3, 2010
Ones to watch
Inverness Caledonian Thistle: Robbie Deas – the centre back has quietly gone about his business since joining ICT in the summer, featuring in every match so far this season.
He is used to the Championship level after regularly playing for Alloa last season, but it is important to remember that the 20-year-old is still learning his trade in senior football.
That said, Inverness will be relying on him to keep Raith's prolific frontline quiet, with today's visitors top scoring in the Championship with 14 goals from four games going into this weekend's fixtures.
Raith Rovers: Manny Duku – the Kirkcaldy ouftit's top scorer has been in fine form this season, with seven goals to his name in six matches.
He will be no stranger to Caley Thistle, with two of those strikes coming against Inverness in the 3–3 draw in the Betfred Cup.
The Dutch forward's confidence will be sky-high, and he will want to continue his scoring run for the fourth away game in-a-row.
ICT manager John Robertson's pre-match thoughts
"This Saturday we're going to have to give everything we've got, because we saw in the cup game why Raith Rovers are top of the league.
"They get the ball forward quickly, they can mix it up, they can pass through you, they can go in behind, they can be very direct at times but then they press you very quickly.
"Going forward their full backs play like wingers, and their wingers come inside and play like old-fashioned inside forwards, and they try and harry you into a game that they want to play.
"From the way they played in the first half hour against us in Kirkcaldy, we can understand why they are deservedly top of the league.
"We showed our own attributes in the second half though by passing through them, we showed the quality we have on the ball, and when we went 3–2 ahead we should have killed the game off.
"It took us a while to get to grips with them, but we did, and then in the second half we turned the game on it's head by pressing them very well. We cut them open, and that's what's going to be required again.
"It's a tough match, and we're going to have to be at our very best if we're going to take the three points."