RANGERS will make a “late decision” on Borna Barisic after the Croatian picked up a few knocks in Sunday’s Scottish Premiership win at Hamilton Accies.
The Croatian full-back will take his place in tomorrow’s team to face Feyenoord if he is deemed to be fit enough, though boss Steven Gerrard has planned ahead in case he doesn’t make it.
Meanwhile, the Light Blues will definitely be without Jermain Defoe tomorrow, with the striker also rated 50/50 to make Sunday’s match with Hearts.
Speaking at this evening’s press conference, Gerrard explained: “We come here in good health. Borna is carrying a couple of kicks from the weekend so we’ll make a late decision on him.
“But if he’s not available, we’ve made sure we’ve brought along enough cover with Jon [Flanagan] and Andy [Halliday] as well.
“If Borna comes through he’ll play – but we’ll have to make a late decision on it.
“Jermain Defoe got injured in training today. It’s not a big problem and he’ll be touch and go for the weekend. But he’s ruled out for tomorrow.”
Feyenoord, of course, are now managed by former Rangers gaffer Dick Advocaat – and he is a man whom Gerrard has so much warmth towards given his record at so many big clubs.
The Ibrox boss continued: “Dick is a manager who has been at this level for many, many years and I’ve got an incredible amount of respect for him as a coach as he has big experiences throughout Europe.
“A manager like that will always give a team a lift and is always going to improve certain things.
“I’m sure he looked in at Feyenoord and could see where things were going wrong and I’ve noticed that he’s tweaked those areas – I’ve noticed that having studied their recent performances.
“So yes, it will be a more difficult challenge than at Ibrox. We obviously had the support right behind us who were fantastic – I’m sure that is going to be the case in their favour.
“It’s got all the makings of being a very interesting game and certainly one we are looking forward to.
“Balance is the right word. I’m going to need the players to be brave – I need players who can handle the atmosphere, certainly early on.
“It’s the reason why I rested Steven Davis at the weekend, so he could be fresh. I need big players with character and bravery. They need to stand up and be counted.
“We’ve certainly rehearsed this type of challenge – we took on Legia in front of an incredible atmosphere and stood up, were brave and stuck together out there.
“But I’m still going to need players to perform. I need my attacking players to provide big moments for us. As a team and as a group, we’re going to have to stick together because we’re aware this is a lot tougher than the task we faced at Ibrox.”
The manager also spoke about the Rangers support, with around 3000 expected inside De Kuip tomorrow night.
He added: “I think that is Rangers – a magnificent support who want to follow the team anywhere in the world and they want to support and back the team in their numbers.
“I am not surprised by it. But, I am really looking forward to hearing our fans make some noise tomorrow and get behind the team. Hopefully we can reward them with a performance to make them happy come the end of the game.
“What I will say, is it is important the fans behave as we have two games left and the last thing we need is any punishment moving forward because whatever happens tomorrow and in the next game, we need our supporters right behind us and they have been fantastic so far.”