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Will Nightingale to miss Ross County’s first competitive matches of the 2024/25 season as Josh Sims and Jordon Garrick make Dingwall exits

By Andrew Henderson

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Will Nightingale looks set to miss the start of Ross County competitive fixtures after picking up an injury in pre-season training.

The defender returned to Dingwall on a season-long loan earlier this summer, but has played no part in the friendly victories over Brora Rangers (2-1) or Clachnacuddin (6-0) ahead of this weekend’s opening League Cup group stage match away at Stranraer.

Manager Don Cowie has confirmed that the 28-year-old picked up an issue on the training ground that has kept him out, albeit the prognosis does not appear to be too serious.

Will Nightingale (right) has picked up an injury in pre-season training and will miss Ross County's opening competitive matches of the season. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Will Nightingale (right) has picked up an injury in pre-season training and will miss Ross County's opening competitive matches of the season. Picture: Ken Macpherson

County have recruited in defence this summer, but with Nightingale’s absence and the exit of Jack Baldwin earlier this week Cowie acknowledges they may look somewhat light at the back for Saturday.

“I felt it was important to freshen it up – even with Jack Baldwin, we were always looking to get something fresh,” Cowie explained.

“We managed to get Ricki Lamie pretty early. I felt Ryan Leak was really good last year, really consistent and probably the defender who played the most for us, but we didn’t have another recognised left centre-back so for that balance I felt it was key to get someone like Ricki in.

“Will Nightingale has come back, but unfortunately he has a knee injury that will keep him out for a period of time, thankfully weeks rather than months. With Jack leaving as well, it means we are maybe a little bit thin again

“I’m absolutely delighted to bring in Akil Wright. He was the person we identified at the end of last season – he is really physical, explosive in the air, mobile, athletic-looking and versatile as well.

“We didn’t think it could happen, but Stockport have been really adaptable towards us in terms of making a deal happen and we got there.

“Another addition is something we might look at, but at the same time I’m not going to discount Connell Ewan and Dylan Smith, two really good, young centre-backs at the club. They will get their opportunity over the next couple of weeks.”

Elsewhere on the transfer front, trialist Jordon Garrick looked like a threat in the friendly at Dudgeon Park, while no confirmation had come over Josh Sims’ status.

However, Cowie has now revealed that both players are no longer with the club – albeit with a chance of Garrick returning.

“Josh has decided to move on,” Cowie added.

“We put an offer to Josh, and like a number of people at this club at times if they’ve got a family, it was important for Josh to move back to England. He’s got two boys under the age of two, and they just felt it was important to have that family network around them.

“He’s a fantastic boy, amazing to have around the place, and was part of big moments for this club. I would have liked to have kept Josh, because he’s one that really sets the tempo and creates a culture within training, but just like Jack Baldwin we wish him the very best in what happens in the next stage of his career.

“Jordon is no longer here – it was always going to be the case that he was up Wednesday to Sunday last week. He took part in the game (at Brora), and took his goal really well.

“It’s something we’re actively looking at whether there is potential there for that to become a permanent thing, and we’ll see how those discussions go. I’m sure he will have other options, but he’s certainly one we’re still looking at.”

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