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Rangers: Borna Barisic faces battle to prove fitness for Kilmarnock trip

Rangers: Borna Barisic faces battle to prove fitness for Kilmarnock trip - Rangers

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]

The Rangers left-back was forced off injured during his team’s 4-1 Scottish Cup win over Hamilton last Saturday, with Andy Halliday coming on in his place.

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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Article title: Rangers: Borna Barisic faces battle to prove fitness for Kilmarnock trip

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