Sunday, 29 July 2018

Rangers v Wigan match preview; one debut?



This afternoon’s friendly with Wigan is a strange old one; with the side in good momentum following four shut outs in a row, and fresh off the back of a stellar display in Croatia in the second round of Europa League qualifying, a friendly like this does seem a little out of place.

There doesn’t seem any real significance on it, beyond further match fitness, and the result maybe carries a little less weight given Wigan were only recently another League One side like Bury, and like Bury are very unlikely to give Steven Gerrard’s men an aggressive test in what amounts to a summer kick about.

Still, it was arranged well in advance so the club knew what it was doing fixing this one up, and there is always alternative formations to try.

For Shkupi, SG deployed his signature 4-1-4-1 (with several players at odds with the system), but after a difficult 180 minutes in that tie reverted to 4-3-3 for the trip to Croatia, which worked much better and saw more players appearing comfortable with the setup.

Defender Connor Goldson has told Rangers TV that during the pre-season in Malaga, a three at the back was played with as well, but given how reliable defence currently seems to be, it may be unlikely Gerrard would want to alter that, even for experimental purposes in a friendly.

The three ‘victims’ of SG’s ruthlessness in Croatia (Windass, Candeias and McCrorie) will wonder if they’ll start today, but for the sake of continuity we’d imagine Gerrard may wish to stick with exactly the same eleven, bar the possibility of Umar Sadiq (who Gerrard confirmed may play a part) and a possible return for Scott Arfield and Declan John depending on fitness.

Equally though he may wish to give the likes of Greg Docherty and Andy Halliday some valuable game time, given the restrictive access they’ve had to it.

Whatever team he puts out, we’re not sure this one is really overly important in the grand scheme of things.
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