Philippe Clement provides 'not good' Leon Balogun injury update as Rangers defender suffers facial blow
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Philippe Clement suspects Rangers defender Leon Balogun may have suffered a broken bone in his face during Saturday's 3-0 Scottish Premiership win over Livingston at Ibrox.
The centre-back, who started alongside Connor Goldson at the heart of the hosts' backline, was forced to leave the field after just 22 minutes with a facial injury. The 35-year-old collided with Livingston defender Shaun Donnellan in an accidental clash of heads and received treatment on the pitch but was unable to recover.
He was replaced by John Souttar to cap off a disappointing week for the Nigerian international, who missed out on a place in Rangers' Europa League last-16 squad on Friday.
Providing an update on Balogun's condition, Gers boss Clement labelled the experienced defender a "warrior" and revealed the player wants to return to the pitch as soon as possible by playing with a protective mask. "Not good, and good in a way," the Belgian confirmed post-match when asked how Balogun was. "It is not good because it is a bad injury, he probably broke something in his face. The positive side is that he is a warrior and he is somebody with experience who already had things like that in the past. He believes he can be fast back with a mask so I hope that is the case. It is the medical staff who need to decide that." Balogun wasn't registered throughout the Europa League group stages by previous manager Michael Beale, and with Rangers only allowed to make three alterations, Clement has opted to add Ridvan Yilmaz, Fabio Silva and Mohamed Diomande to his squad instead.
Explaining his thought-process behind the decision, Clement stated: "If you look at finding a balance, then Ridvan needs to be in. You need two full-backs, that was a problem in the first round. If there was a problem with Borna Barisic we didn't have any left-back.
"That was a difficult point on that European list that I have submitted. Sam Lammers is out, so Fabio Silva is in. That's logical. (Jose) Cifuentes is probably out so Diomande comes in instead of him. Ridvan will come on the list so that means Leon Balogun, Kieran Dowell and (Oscar) Cortes cannot be on the list. That hurts me.
"We have been puzzling for hours with the staff these past few days and you always come to the same conclusions. You cannot keep the balance unless you make these changes."