Nine points in their last six Ladbrokes Premiership games have seen Inverness Caledonian Thistle rise from bottom spot to the cusp of the top six.
Midfielder Liam Polworth has been the key man in their recent resurgence, netting crucial goals against Dundee and Hamilton Academical in the past month.
The classy wide man spoke exclusively to Ladbrokes News to discuss training under Richie Foran, the Caley youth system and his ambitions for the club this season.
Ladbrokes News: Richie Foran was the Ladbrokes Premiership Manager of the Month for September and he’s certainly getting results on the pitch. What’s training like under Richie?
Liam Polworth: Training has been really enjoyable. The manager works us very hard, but all the lads buy into it because we can see the improvement we’re making as a side because of it.
LN: Would you say he’s helping you develop as a player?
LP: I’m improving a lot. We’ve got a very good coaching setup at the club. As a wide player, the gaffer is helping to develop the goalscoring aspect of my game – from getting in the right positions to score, to working on my finishing.
We need to chip in and help the strikers, so giving them that support by chipping in with a few goals is a big focus for all our midfielders and wide men.
Getting better at heading is another thing I’m focusing on with the coaches. The more ways in which I can improve my all-round game, the better.
LN: The Ladbrokes Premiership is very tight this season, with just 3 points separating Motherwell in sixth place from Dundee in 12th. Is the focus for you guys on trying to top that pack, or just to put distance between yourselves and the bottom clubs.
LP: This Inverness side is ambitious. We’re always looking up the table – and it’s still early in the season, so there’s plenty of time for us to push on and climb up the league. Top six is definitely our first and main aim – and then to see where we can go from there.
LN: Your boys are in good form right now, with just one defeat in the last six games. Do you think the side are beginning to gel? And is this just the start of Caley’s improvement?
LP: Yeah. Sometimes in the early stages of the season it takes some time for the team to fit together, with new players coming in – and in our case, a new manager.
But after a few games, you get to know what your new teammates offer on the pitch and the kind of characters they are.
I’m confident that this is just the start of our improvement. We’ve got Kilmarnock tomorrow and then Motherwell in midweek, so the focus is trying to get six points from those games. If we can do that, then the signs are very good for us
LN: Going back a little while – you became Caley Thistle’s youngest ever debutant aged 16, back in 2011. You’ve now got the likes Alasdair Sutherland and Cameron MacKay coming through. What makes the youth setup at Inverness so successful?
LP: The key thing is the quality of the coaches. We don’t have the facilities that some of the bigger clubs in the central belt do, but the coaches here are extremely determined to help the next generation flourish.
The first team here are always keeping an eye on the younger lads, because it’s exciting to see who has the potential to break into the side. Especially so for me, having come through the youth set-up here.
Those two lads you mentioned have a lot of potential, and I think it’s exciting for the fans to see them breaking into the side.
LN: Talking of your teammates – you’re now helping to supply two summer arrivals up front, in the form of Lonsana Doumbouya and Scott Boden. How have you found those guys to play with?
LP: Really good. Lonsana’s come into the squad a bit later, but has adapted very well. He’s such a big, powerful guy, which offers us something different to what we had last season. And we’re learning to adapt to what works for his game.
Scotty’s been here since the start of pre-season, and he’s already scored in a Highland derby, so he’s doing alright!
LN: As for now, I’m sure the focus is on the Kilmarnock game on Saturday. Two wins and a draw in your last three home meetings with them. Do you think we’ll see an attacking approach from Inverness once again?
LP: Definitely – we’ll be going out there aiming to score early and build on that. The plan is to stamp our authority on the game right from the start, and impose our style of play.
Our fans pay their money to come and watch, so you want them to go home having been entertained. Getting the three points is obviously still the biggest thing, but they’re delighted if we can win and put on a show for them!
Inverness CT are next in action against Kilmarnock tomorrow, with 11/20 for the Highland outfit to chalk up a third win in five at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium.
Meanwhile, those who fancy the in-form 22-year-old to net once again can back him to open the scoring at 7/1, while it’s 23/10 he nets anytime.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing