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Kettlewell rules Ross County duo out of opening Premiership fixture against Motherwell

By Andrew Henderson

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Two Ross County players are set to miss the opening match of the Premiership season.

Kick off for the Staggies' 2020/21 campaign draws ever close, with their first game against Motherwell just two weeks away on Monday, August 3.

There has been some good news on the injury front for County, with Ross Draper, Michael Gardyne and Blair Spittal all returning to bounce games in training last week.

But manager Stuart Kettlewell has ruled two others out of contention for the competitive opener.

Joe Chalmers and Tom Grivosti have both been long-term concerns stretching back to last season, with Chalmers not playing in 2020 and Grivosti being out since October.

Tom Grivosti has not played since suffering a foot injury against Rangers last October. Picture: Ken Macpherson
Tom Grivosti has not played since suffering a foot injury against Rangers last October. Picture: Ken Macpherson

Both men will be back in training, but after such lengthy absences Kettlewell says they will not be ready to feature against Motherwell.

"We've only really got two that are still out – Joe Chalmers and Tom Grivosti – but they're making really good progress," he explained.

“I think both will be pretty much into full sessions by the first game of the season, but I don’t think they will be fully fit or fully functional by then, but my hope is they are fully integrated with the group by that point.

“There has been a long lay-off for both, so it will take a bit of time to get them up to speed. That’s something we’ll look at in the next couple of weeks.”

Kettlewell hopes to have an otherwise fully fit squad to pick from, which could make for a selection dilemma or two approaching the curtain raiser in Dingwall.

"With Ross Draper, Michael Gardyne, Blair Spittal – guys who have been out for a couple of weeks with niggles – all taking part in the bounce game last Tuesday, that gives us a really good strength in depth to our squad, but obviously we want to get the other two guys back fit too," Kettlewell added.

"Outwith that, if we can have a clean bill of health it puts us in a really good position.

"It will give me a few sleepless nights if everyone is doing well, but that's what you want.

"You're obviously going to go and pick who you believe is best in areas of the pitch when the season comes, I have no reservations about that, but we're moving in the right direction and it's nice to see the vast majority of the guys involved in the group session."

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