Predicted XI - How Rangers could line up against Serie A leaders Napoli in Champions League on Matchday 2
Giovanni van Bronckhorst could be tempted to shuffle his pack for the visit of the Italian outfit.
Rangers entertain early Serie A pacesetters Napoli in tonight’s UEFA Champions League Group A tie at Ibrox desperate to halt a recent dip in form which saw them get off to the worst possible start last week.
The Light Blues’ return to Europe’s top table for the first time in over a decade ended in a 4-0 dismantling by Ajax in Amsterdam, finding themselves three goals behind after 34 minutes.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side were totally outclassed by the Eredivisie champions in the Dutch capital just days after losing to Old Firm rivals Celtic by the same scoreline the previous weekend.
It doesn’t get any easier for Rangers with a clash against Italian giants Napoli back on home soil and a third successive defeat could prove a damaging blow to their hopes of progressing to the last-16 phase.
Van Bronckhorst could well decide to shuffle his pack on the back of two major setbacks in an attempt to reignite a much-needed spark and the Dutchman will hope a capacity home crowd can inspire his players to a memorable European triumph.
Here, GlasgowWorld predicts how Rangers will line up against the Serie A leaders tonight:
Van Bronckhorst hinted he could give striker Alfredo Morelos his first start since March tonight but confirmed goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin will miss out through injury after he was absent from yesterday’s training session.
The Colombian hasn’t started a match since a 2-1 victory over Dundee last season, but he came off the bench during the 4-0 defeat to Celtic.
Morelos was an unused substitute against Ajax last week but Van Bronckhorst has been impressed by the way he has knuckled down since being dropped from the matchday squad due to fitness issues and his attitude.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the Dutchman said: “He’s definitely better than a couple of weeks ago, both mentally and physically.
“He is training really well. I had a good conversation with him. Not being involved against PSV was, I think, a big wake-up call. After that, he has done really well.
“He is in a far better place than in the last couple of weeks. He makes it difficult for me now to decide who to start.
“Jon is not available. He picked up an injury the last game so he will not be involved. Of course it’s been different for Allan (McGregor) that he’s not been starting games.
“But he’s still the same person in training and I have every faith in him when he plays because of the experience he has. He will be fine and I have no doubt in my mind to have any doubts he will not perform.”
Rangers could line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation, as they did against Ajax in Amsterdam last week.
ALLAN McGREGOR: (GK) - Has served as understudy to McLaughlin so far this season but the veteran stopper will be recalled for this tie with his counterpart suffering an injury.
JAMES TAVERNIER: (RB) - The captain picked up a calf problem in Amsterdam last week and came off at half-time but he should be cleared to play.
CONNOR GOLDSON: (CB) - Nailed on to keep his place in the side. The club’s most dependable centre-half option in recent years.
BEN DAVIES: (CB) - The former Liverpool defender only returned to full fitness last week and hasn’t played any first-team minutes in over a month but could step in to replace the struggling Sands.
BORNA BARISIC: (LB) - The Croatian has been one of Rangers better performers in recent games and continues to hold down a starting place at left-back.
JOHN LUNDSTRAM: (CDM) - Hasn’t been anywhere near his best in recent weeks, like many of his team mates, but a better showing is expected from the Scouser.
STEVEN DAVIS: (CM) - His experience and know-how in games of this magnitude make the Northern Irishman an important figure in this type of encounter. Could easily be recalled. On pre-match media duties.
GLEN KAMARA: (CM) - Van Bronckhorst needs to see more from the Finland international who has struggled to recapture the form that saw him instantly win over fans on his arrival in Govan.
MALIK TILLMAN: (RW) - More effective as a No.10 but could start this match on the right-hand side with Scott Wright tipped to drop out of the starting line-up.
RYAN KENT: (LW) - Has yet to get himself off the mark this season and has looked off the pace on the big occasion so far this season. These are the type of games he often thrives on.
ANTONIO COLAK: (CF) - The Croatian is unlikely to be knocked off his perch having found the net on seven of his 11 appearances to date. Poor showing against Ajax but should keep the jersey.
On the bench: McCrorie (GK), Yilmaz, Sands, Morelos, Arfield, Davis, Matondo, Wright, Sakala, King, Devine