Tonight, Steven Gerrard gets a small taste of the Ibrox atmosphere as Rangers face Bury in a friendly. With ticket sales going well, and excitement around how the team will play under the new manager, it promises to be a fun Friday night.
In normal circumstances, a friendly against Bury wouldn’t generate any sort of excitement. That’s with the greatest of respect to The Shakers, who now reside in League Two. The Steven Gerrard factor is the key to this game tonight, as neither side will be close to their best in terms of fitness.
There’s not a lot of names Rangers fans will recognise in the Bury squad. Tom Aldred was on loan at Motherwell in the second half of last season, and his future isn’t decided. The player most will know of at least is Jermaine Beckford. His stint with Everton in the Premier League, and years in the English Championship, make him a striker with plenty of experience. He’s now 34, and been struggling for goals these last few seasons.
Manager Ryan Lowe was playing matches last season at the age of 39. As a youth, he was at Liverpool, where he met Steven Gerrard and has remained friends with him ever since. Their relegation to League Two, where they’ll be expected to get promoted from, will put him under pressure.
RANGERS TEAM NEWS
Sadly, Rangers look set to be without Jordan Rossiter for this match. He’s been in a protective boot and using crutches recently after injuring his ankle in training. The club are awaiting results of a scan to determine how long this injury will set him back. Graham Dorrans continues to recover from a knee injury, and Ovie Ejaria looks to be unavailable at the moment as well.
Recent press has suggested that Wes Foderingham has been told he can leave the club, as has Lee Hodson. Fabio Cardoso, Eduardo Herrera and Harry Forrester have been in training, but are known to be surplus to requirements.
PREDICTED LINE UP
It’s always a difficult one to predict what a team will do for a friendly. With only the closed-doors match against TNS so far to draw from, we can’t say what Gerrard’s preferred team is just yet. I think the team which will be set to play in the Europa League qualifier will get the majority of this match as well:
It may be that Docherty is on the bench, with Windass brought in and Arfield playing a little deeper. The training video for this match showed a drill with the back 4 set as above, rather than Declan John at left back.
It’s a friendly, and neither side will be at their best. Rangers will be much stronger all over the park, and look to impress. However, I suspect a few goals will see plenty of changes and the flow of the match disrupted. I’m going for a 3-0 win for Rangers in this one.
For a look at some of the new signings, or the excitement behind the Gerrard appointment, check out these articles linked into the piece above.