Former Rangers striker Derek Johnstone expects Ryan Kent to be frequently among the scorers, once the rarely-seen forward is back fit after a hamstring injury.
Kent has featured just once for Rangers this season after returning to Ibrox following a successful loan spell in Scotland last term (TransferMarkt), when the 22-year-old penned six goals and nine assists across all competitions.
The Liverpool product’s minutes were derailed over the winter in 2018 when he suffered a hamstring injury, with the blow preventing Kent from adding to his earlier efforts against Dundee, Hearts and Hamilton Academical.
Rangers have been a free-scoring offence in their recent fixtures without Kent, having hit five past Hamilton and Aberdeen and four past St. Johnstone in their last three Premiership games, to move atop the league standings with a plus-21 goal difference (WhoScored).
Steven Gerrard has seen Jermain Defoe strike 35% of the Gers’ efforts this term, Alfredo Morelos 19% and James Tavernier and Connor Goldson both striking 12% – enough for the quartet to rank third, eighth, ninth and tenth among the Scottish top-flights highest contributors thus far.
Johnstone expects some of the burden to shift onto Kent once the £7.5million (Liverpool Echo) forward returns to the fold at Ibrox.
“The side is carrying a real threat at this moment in time,” Johnstone noted in his column for the Evening Times. “That will only increase once Ryan Kent is available after his hamstring injury, and the fans will be desperate to see him back in action soon after the international break.
“Kent will give Steven Gerrard another option in the final third, and goals shouldn’t be in short supply for Rangers this term. If we can continue to keep it tight at the back, then teams will find it very difficult to beat us.
“What we have got in the middle of the park, the wide areas and certainly through the middle with Alfredo Morelos and Jermain Defoe, that is a very potent and dangerous side.”
Rangers will certainly be hoping that Kent is able to replicate or better his efforts from last season once he is passed fit in order to justify the fee paid this summer, but Gerrard, and Johnstone, may have to wait a while yet to see the Liverpool product back in action.
According to Football Insider, the former England U20 international may not make his comeback until November, and even then his name will likely only be listed among the substitutes with Rangers playing his return extremely carefully.
But the Gers are not overly missing Kent at present, and will be far better served by playing his return with caution, and hope that he is ready to start when FC Porto travel to Ibrox at the start of next month, or at least the Light Blues’ trip to Feyenoord on November 28.
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