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Winger Josh Sims could still feature for Ross County before end of the season

By Andrew Henderson

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Ross County hope Josh Sims will get the chance to make an impact on the pitch before the end of the season.

Picture - Ken Macpherson. See story. Ross County's new signing Josh Sims, pictured ahead of tomorrow’s (Sat) game against Hibs.
Picture - Ken Macpherson. See story. Ross County's new signing Josh Sims, pictured ahead of tomorrow’s (Sat) game against Hibs.

Going into last night’s match against Rangers, the winger had not featured since signing for the Staggies on a free transfer in February.

The 25-year-old spent months out of the game due to a variety of health issues, including heart scares, Covid and ulcerative colitis.

Southampton, where he had progressed from the academy into the first team, released him when his contract expired at the end of last season.

Sims had been highly rated, spending time out on loan at Reading, New York Red Bulls and Doncaster Rovers while representing England at a number of youth age group up to the under-20s, so when news broke that he was about to become a free agent there was no shortage of speculation about his future.

However, his health meant he was not in a position to kick a ball, never mind sign for a club.

Eventually things improved, but even then when he was convinced to head north to the Highlands by Malky Mackay earlier this year both sides knew it would be a long road ahead before any debut.

At the time, Mackay spoke of Sims needing a pre-season under his belt immediately, and that work has begun to pay off as Sims has been named on the substitutes’ bench for County’s three games leading into their trip to Ibrox.

Had County’s manager had his way, Sims would have been in the mix even earlier, but the winger is finally at a stage where a return to action – a full 12 months on from his last appearance – is possible again.

“Josh has now been given the thumbs up by the surgeon, with the terms of the final month’s worth of data,” Mackay explained.

“It’s about building him up to full fitness, and he has not played football for a long time. We are really looking at him as a next year signing.

“He’s now on the bench, and if there’s a possibility in any of the games that I think we can get him on for five or 10 minutes, we will do that, but it will not be to the detriment to what’s actually up at stake here.

“I was trying to get him on the bench a couple of weeks ago, which would not have been the correct thing to do from a medical approach.

“I was desperate to get him on the bench, but we just weren’t allowed to. We just needed to be patient and allow the surgeon the chance to just sign him off for the longer-term.

“He has been embracing the move so far. His partner and child are up, and his parents have been up to visit as well.”

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