Rangers turn their attention to the Scottish Cup today as the Ibrox giants look to make their way to the final of the competition.
The Gers secured a place in the semi-finals of the Europa League during the week and now have the chance to progress in another cup competition to cap off a fine week for Gio van Bronckhorst’s side.
They face off against their arch-rivals at Hampden in this semi-final clash and will be hoping to use the momentum gained from their 3-1 win in Europe on Thursday night to get them over the line this afternoon.
Despite their fine victory against Braga, van Bronckhorst may look to make some changes to keep the team fresh after 120 minutes of action at Ibrox a few days ago. One player he must bring back into the starting XI is central defender Leon Balogun.
Calvin Bassey and Connor Goldson played the full match in Europe and the head coach must rest the former to avoid burning out his centre-back options. Filip Helander has been ruled out for the rest of the season and this means that the Gers cannot afford to risk any further injuries in that area of the pitch, which is why Balogun must now come in.
The £14k-per-week Nigerian machine was previously dubbed as “important” by Steven Gerrard and ex-Gers full-back Alan Hutton hailed him as “outstanding”, which shows how highly he is rated by those who have worked with him or watched him play.
He has averaged SofaScore ratings of 6.98 and 7.01 in the Premiership and Europa League respectively.
This shows that he has been performing to a high level on a consistent basis throughout the campaign in multiple competitions, using his experience to make himself a reliable option for van Bronckhorst this term.
Who should he come in for?
Against Braga, Bassey lost two of his three aerial battles and failed to make a single clearance, block or tackle whilst making one interception – as per SofaScore.
Therefore, Balogun’s compatriot should be the one to drop out for this game, with the experienced duo of Balogun and Goldson tasked with keeping the likes of Liel Abada and Kyogo Furuhashi at bay this afternoon.