Ross County: Selling players is 'harsh reality' - Stuart Kettlewell

Ross Stewart in action
Stewart has reportedly attracted interest from English Championship sides Blackburn Rovers and Stoke City

Ross County's "harsh reality" means the club has a reliance on selling players to stay financially stable, says co-manager Stuart Kettlewell.

With reports of interest in striker Ross Stewart, Kettlewell accepts every player is available at the right price.

Chairman Roy MacGregor, who has backed much of the club's rise to the Scottish Premiership, spoke in summer of taking a more prudent approach.

"Things had potentially got out of hand," Kettlewell said.

"All the stories that floated around about Ross County maybe overstepping the mark and spending beyond our means. We've obviously got a task of trying to redress that and make sure the club runs on an even keel.

"Everyone will see there have been changes financially at the football club, you're always trying to balance the books and try and level things off.

"We've got a fantastic chairman. But when you talk about players doing well sometimes then it just falls into how can you further establish or stabilise the financial side of things."

The Dingwall side are back in the top flight after a one-season stint in the Championship, during which first-team wage structures were altered, some regulars departed and other players with a point to prove were brought in.

After securing promotion, the Highlanders have been more cautious with their spending than in previous seasons as they strive to live within their means.

"It is what it is," Kettlewell added. "Myself and Steven [Ferguson, co-manager] don't moan about that or question it - that's just the harsh reality of it here."

While no formal offers have come in for 23-year-old Stewart, former County midfielder Kettlewell admits the chance to use the club as a stepping stone is a negotiating tool when he brings talent to the club.

"We can't be one of those clubs who sit there saying we're not looking to try and improve and develop and further our players' careers," he said.

"Sometimes that's the conversation we have with our players when we're signing them here. If somebody offers one of our players X amount of money that the chairman believes is acceptable - Ross has another year-and-a-half on his contract so he's a Ross County player, but we know the situation we are in."

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