Blow for Rangers as midfielder Ryan Jack set to be sidelined a month
By PA Sport Staff
Steven Gerrard has suffered a fresh midfield blow amid fears Ryan Jack could sit out a month of crucial action for Rangers.
The Ibrox boss was dealt bad news last week when it was confirmed Joe Aribo had been ruled out for another six weeks.
And now Jack could be missing for a similarly lengthy period after limping off against Dundee United on Saturday with a calf complaint.
The Scotland midfielder was one of four Light Blues stars hurt during the 4-0 romp against Micky Mellon’s side, with Leon Balogun, Brandon Barker and Alfredo Morelos also picking knocks.
Morelos is the only one of the four to have travelled to Gibraltar for Thursday’s opening Europa League qualifier against Lincoln Red Imps despite having suffered a nasty wound following Ryan Edwards’ shock challenge.
But Gerrard is worried his key midfield linchpin will be out of action as Gers face up to three crucial Premiership clashes in the run up to next month’s opening Old Firm clash at Celtic Park, with a potential date with either Progres Niederkorn or Willem II in the next round of Europe also looming should Gers march past Red Imps under the Rock.
“Jacko will be missing for a few weeks at least,” confirmed the Light Blues boss at a press conference. “We will have to take it day by day but we have had confirmation he’s got a calf problem so he will be missing in the short term.
“It’s difficult to say whether it will be two, three or four weeks at the moment.
“But he will certainly miss a couple of weeks.
“Brandon Barker is similar in terms of his scan on his hamstring. He will be missing in the short term as well.
“Alfredo trained fully with the group today and trained with the physio yesterday just to test it out. I’ve just spoken to him after training and he’s fine and available.”
Rangers need little warning about the dangers that lie on the Iberian peninsula’s southern tip.
Brendan Rodgers suffered a humiliating start to his Celtic reign when his side slumped to a shock 1-0 loss against Red Imps four years ago.
Gers made no mistake when they visited Gibraltar last year, beating St Joseph’s 4-0 on what was the first step on a run that took them to the last 16.
And Gerrard wants a repeat of that professional display.
He said: “Four years ago, Red Imps got an incredible result but that happens in football around the world. If you don’t match your opponent to the necessary standards then of course you can have problems.
“We’ve had two excellent runs in this competition over the last two years.
“You have to come to places like this in the qualifiers and do a professional job, get over the line and get into the next round. That’s what we’re here for.
“There is enough experience in my squad now to realise that if we think we can just come here and turn up and not approach it right or show the right mentality and drop our standards, then the game will be complicated.
“But in no shape or form are we going to disrespect the opponent because I’ve been around the game long enough to know if you drop your guard, it can become complicated.”