MORTON gaffer Gus MacPherson has challenged his frontmen to fill the void left by Gozie Ugwu after the powerful striker was forced off with an ankle injury in Saturday's draw against Arbroath.

The Ton boss believes that the likes of Jimmy Knowles, Gary Oliver and Robbie Muirhead have an opportunity to stake a claim at the top end of the pitch with the ex-Raith Rovers striker potentially facing another spell on the sidelines.

He told the Tele: “Losing players to injury is what happens in football.

“That’s why we’ve got a full squad, so they can come in when needed should we lose players.

“We’ve lost Gozie on quite a few occasions this season already, whether that be with Covid issues or if he’s picked up an injury, and he’s now gone and picked up another one.

“It just seems to be the way that things are going for him and ourselves as a team at the moment, but for the rest of the players, it’s not just about one man.

"It’s about the group and how they respond to it and they certainly did that.

“It was pleasing to see both Gary Oliver and Cameron Blues score."

MacPherson was delighted to see Knowles grab his chance with an impressive performance from the bench on Saturday.

The Mansfield loanee has had to bide his time on the sidelines but the Ton boss believes the young Englishman stepped up to the plate after Ugwu's premature departure.

MacPherson said: “It was near enough a full game for Jimmy, coming on so soon from the start.

“We played a bounce game against St Johnstone at the beginning of last week and he was excellent.

“He’s been left clicking his heels, a bit frustrated that we’ve brought him up here from Mansfield and he’s not played as much as he’s liked.

“He’s not had a lot of game but he’s had Covid issues as well and then we’ve brought in other strikers, but he’s come in and done well against Arbroath.

“There could be an opportunity here for the likes of him and Gary Oliver depending on the outcome of Gozie’s injury.”

MacPherson says he has been blown away by the quality of Jaakko Oksanen in the middle of the park, who has been rewarded with yet another call-up to the Finnish under-21 squad.

He lauded his composure and ability to pick out the killer pass in the middle of the park.

He added: “Jaakko in the middle of the pitch was the best player on the park at the weekend again.

“His composure to pass the ball about, in a way that’s unnatural to his style of play, he’s head and shoulders above everyone else.

“He’s got that composure to put his foot on the ball and even at times we should be doing a little bit better in helping him to find that pass, but he’s done very well for us.

“I spoke to Brentford the other day and thanked them again profusely for letting us have him and play a part in his development.”