Review of last season – Ross County finished a very respectable 7th place last season, securing their place at the top of the bottom six. This guaranteed a third successive season in the Premiership for Derek Adams and his team. A recurring theme of large numbers of players coming and going was once again a feature of County’s season and it is safe to say that the signings made by Derek Adams were a mixed bag. It needed a few key signings in January to make the difference for Ross County and although the side were flirting with the playoffs for much of the season a strong run post split meant they finished in a fairly comfortable position. However it isn’t the first time that County have relied on a batch of January signings to turn things around. On the whole, a 7th place finish and another season in the top flight must be seen as a success.
Players in – Jordi Balk (Defender, Utrecht), Tim Dreesen (Defender, Fortuna Sittard), Ben Frempah (Defender/Midfielder, Leicester City), Liam Boyce (Striker, Cliftonville), Joe Cardle (Midfielder, Raith Rovers), Jake Jervis (Striker, Portsmouth), Antonio Reguero (Goalkeeper, Kilmarnock), James Fenlon (Defender, AFC Wimbledon)
Players out – Ben Gordon (Colchester United), Alex Cooper (Falkirk), Gary Glen (Livingston), Graham Carey (Free), Michael Fraser (Elgin City), Evangelos Oikonomou (Free), Brian McLean (Free), Gordon Finlayson (Elgin City), Filip Kiss (End of Loan, Cardiff City), Yann Songo’o (End of Loan, Blackburn Rovers), Jordan Slew (End of Loan, Blackburn Rovers), Erik Cikos (End of Loan, Slovan Bratislava), Michael Tidser (End of Loan, Rotherham United)
What they still need – It is a little difficult to tell given the players that are coming into the club. The players that have been signed for the most part are all quite versatile so can play a number of positions. County probably do still need some more cover at both left and right-back, with left-back a particular priority. Elsewhere in the team they still maybe lack a playmaker in the middle of the park. Of course this might all change in a few months if Derek Adams decides to have another January transfer bonanza.
Expectations this season – County fans will be expecting some more stability in the team. The squad is continually being altered which in turn has led to instability. This is now Ross County’s third season in the top flight so fans will be looking for signs that the team can begin to look towards the top half of the table. Similar sized teams like Caley Thistle and St.Johnstone have both shown recently that teams working with a small squad and tight budget can achieve great things, so why not County?
Key player – There are actually two players that standout here. One is probably County’s most talented player and the other is key to the squad for different reasons. In Melvin de Leeuw County have one of the most naturally gifted attacking talents in the league. A versatile player who can play in a number of attacking roles he has the ability to ensure that County get the goals they need this season. He has attracted interest from other clubs but for the time being will be a vital part of this Ross county squad. Another person who can be considered key is actually someone who is maybe not the same player he was a couple of seasons ago. Richie Brittain is a County institution. He has been at the club for six years now and plays a key role within the club. A player like Brittain is absolutely vital in a team that is ever-changing. To have a consistent presence like Brittain in the squad is important for the club and the new players arriving in Dingwall.
Young player to look out for – This is a tricky one. In all honesty it is difficult to pick a young prospect that can make an impression this year in terms of players coming through the ranks. There has been a distinct lack of quality young players given the chance at County for a couple of seasons now. So lets take a punt at one of the new signings that has arrived in Dingwall. With some rave reviews about his football but with some concerns about his attitude James ‘Jimmy’ Fenlon has only just been signed from AFC Wimbledon and he comes with some promise. The opinion on Fenlon from those that have seen him play down south is that he is a very talented player and he could have a great future ahead of him. There have been concerns about his attitude and commitment but County could be the right club to get him back on track and in a position to fulfil his potential. It will be interesting how he works out, it might be a case of amazing success or complete failure.
Opinion on Ross County – The worry for County fans has to be the ever-changing squad. Derek Adams has a track record of signing high volumes of players in short bursts and although it has worked well in the past there is a danger that at some point the gamble of signing so many players so often might not work. The Ross County side needs some kind of stability and at this present moment in time it isn’t getting that. This then results in an inconsistent team that has little opportunity to build and develop. There are some talented players in the County squad but it is disruptive having so many changes every pre-season and every January. Derek Adams is a good manager and a very good fit for County. He knows the club, he knows the fans and he knows what is needed to survive in the Premiership. They will probably survive again this season, but at what point do you start looking beyond that towards the top half of the league?
Prediction for this season – 11th