Saturday, 16 February 2019

How 19-year old may hold key for Gerrard


As we know, Rangers have a huge striker crisis on our hands with potentially all three main men out through injury and suspension.

Unfortunately, there is next-to-no alternative system that won’t also cost Rangers heavily in another area – wings.

Scotland youth international Dapo Mebude has been recalled but Stevie has suggested he won’t start today, which means the chances are the only player who can begin up front for the home side is Ryan Kent.

The problem here is this will cost heavily on the wings, leaving Rangers with just two recognised wingers in Glenn Middleton (some way off match fitness) and Daniel Candeias available.

Eros Grezda and Jamie Murphy are of course out through injury and they are the only other options for that slot, meaning while on the surface Kent, Middleton and Candeias doesn’t seem overly horrendous, there will be no depth on the bench and Middleton has barely played the past few months.

It adds up to a heck of a pickle for Gerrard, who really will earn his week’s pay by navigating this mini-crisis successfully.

In truth, we expect him to – it’s a weak opponent, with all due respect to them, in horrific form, and Rangers still have a strong squad – but both striker and potentially wings are completely decimated by these personnel losses and Rangers will have to adapt well in order to compensate.

Will Middleton be risked as a starter? He’s a young man, busting a gut and eager to earn the start – he was alongside his manager at yesterday’s presser suggesting a strong possibility of his being in the XI, but he is in from the effective cold and it’s a lot to ask of him.

And if he or either of the other two should pick up a knock today, Rangers really are in trouble – furthermore, if Middleton is out on his feet by 65 minutes, there’s basically no one to bring on for him.

We know we sound extremely negative here – the truth is we’re optimistic for a good result. But we really do find ourselves stunned by the sudden poverty of selection Gerrard has for this one.

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