Rangers are sweating on the fitness of defender Borna Barisic ahead of tomorrow night’s Premiership clash against Kilmarnock.
In his pre-match press conference this morning, manager Steven Gerrard said that the Croatian has “an outside chance” of featuring at Rugby Park and would not train today, with the 27-year-old’s prospects of playing being rated as “50/50”. [via @RangersFC on Twitter]
🎙️SG: Borna has an outside chance, he won't train today and we will give him a late fitness test, he is 50/50. Ryan Jack is available.
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) February 11, 2020
Gerrard will likely be fervently hoping that Barisic wins the race to prove his fitness for the trip to Kilmarnock, with him being the only natural left-back in the Rangers first team squad as well as being their leading assists provider with 14 for the season so far.
While the Croatian would undoubtedly be a significant loss to the ‘Gers if he is unable to feature at Rugby Park, at least the manager has a couple of options to fill the gap at left-back if needed. Halliday, who usually plays as a midfielder, deputised for the final 21 minutes at New Douglas Park last Saturday and has started five games in that role during the season. However, only one of those was in a Premiership match and he has only once started at left-back since mid-September, while his display against Hamilton didn’t convince some reporters – Abhinab Ghosh of The 4th Official noted that he “committed a couple of bad fouls and got cautioned for his troubles”.
Gerrard could also decide to turn to Jon Flanagan, who made a couple of recent appearances at right-back in the absence of James Tavernier and has started at left-back six times during the season (as per TransferMarkt). However, the ex-Liverpool defender did not perform with conviction when called upon recently, being slammed by numerous Rangers fans following his display at St Mirren and getting hooked at half-time in the subsequent defeat to Hearts. Indeed, he was booked in both matches.
Barisic’s eminently possible absence against Kilmarnock would leave Gerrard deciding between two makeshift left-backs, neither of whom have looked entirely comfortable of late when abandoning their natural positions.
Flanagan may just get the nod seeing as he is a full-back by trade, unlike Halliday, and also has slightly more experience with playing at left-back this season. If Gerrard’s former Anfield team-mate is recalled, he needs to seize upon the opportunity to convince his manager and terrace detractors with a solid display.
Rangers fans, how big a miss would Barisic be if he fails to make it for the Kilmarnock game? In that event, who would you like to see being picked at left-back? Join in the discussion by commenting below!
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