Rangers Prepare for Sparta Prague Clash Amid Defensive Concerns

Rangers FC is gearing up for a crucial Europa League match against Sparta Prague, but manager Philippe Clement faces a defensive reshuffle due to the absence of key players. As the team hones their strategies, uncertainties surround the availability of Borna Barisic and Dujon Sterling, both of whom are nursing injuries. The absence of these vital players leaves Clement with some challenging decisions as they aim to secure a positive result in this pivotal fixture.

Croatian left-back Borna Barisic, who was instrumental in Clement’s first game as manager against Hibs over the weekend, was forced to leave the pitch due to a thigh issue. The extent of his injury and the timeline for his return remain uncertain. Meanwhile, Dujon Sterling, another integral part of the Rangers’ defense, also appears to be grappling with an injury concern, further complicating Clement’s defensive plans.

In light of these setbacks, Ridvan Yilmaz would be the natural choice to deputize for Barisic, but an intriguing twist arises – Yilmaz is not registered in Rangers’ European squad. This curious omission traces back to the previous managerial reign of Michael Beale, who overlooked the Turkish youngster. Consequently, the question remains, who will fill the void left by Barisic and Sterling?

One name that has emerged as a potential replacement is Adam Devine, a promising young talent within the Rangers setup. Devine’s inclusion would signal a remarkable opportunity to prove his mettle on the European stage. Alternatively, the versatile central defender Ben Davies could be called upon to fill in for the missing full-backs, albeit in a position he is not typically accustomed to.

With the team facing this critical European fixture, captain James Tavernier addressed the media to shed light on the challenges and aspirations for Rangers in the competition. He articulated the team’s renewed vigor under the new management, stating, “The group’s level and it’s a restart now because we have a new gaffer and can still come top of the group.”

Tavernier emphasized the significance of the impending clash with Sparta Prague, highlighting the team’s familiarity with the European stage, saying, “Prague is the first game of the boss taking charge in Europe and it’s a game we want to do really well in.” He expressed a desire to secure a victory and reiterated the contrast between domestic and European football in terms of gameplay and tactics.

The captain went on to explain, “In Europe, the game is more open and you get more chances but they also have more of an attacking threat, so it’s something that we relish.” He drew attention to the team’s previous successes in the tournament, underscoring their determination to win and replicate the exhilarating moments that have defined their journey.

Reflecting on their previous European encounter with Limassol, Tavernier admitted, “Limassol was a difficult night. The performance didn’t go our way. I couldn’t really put my finger on what it was down to.” He acknowledged their need to accumulate points to advance further in the competition and right the wrongs of the past.