Winger injury blow could hand big chance to Ger with only five minutes this season vs Lincoln
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Barker injury blow could see Greg Stewart land Rangers chance against Lincoln Red Imps

Brandon Barker’s absence through injury could see Greg Stewart handed a rare opportunity for Rangers against Lincoln Red Imps.

The Gers will soon travel to Gibraltar for the Europa League second-round qualifier but are set to leave several injured attacking players behind.

Steven Gerrard doesn’t have a full squad to choose from for the qualifier. (Photo by Sascha Schuermann/Pool via Getty Images)

Joe Aribo and Jordan Jones [RangersTV] were already sidelined prior to Saturday’s Premiership clash against Dundee United.

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Steven Gerrard’s side stormed to an emphatic 4-0 win but more injuries were sustained along the way, with Barker limping off with a hamstring injury after just 23 minutes.

The Englishman now faces several weeks out and fringe player Greg Stewart could benefit in his absence.

The versatile 30-year-old has only received five minutes of playing time from two substitute appearances in the Premiership this season and was left on the bench during the weekend win.

Greg Stewart will be hoping to feature for Rangers in the upcoming Europa League qualifier against Lincoln Red Imps. (Photo by SASCHA SCHUERMANN/AFP via Getty Images)

However, with Aribo, Jones and Barker all out, he stands a realistic chance of featuring against Lincoln.

Kemar Roofe, Ryan Kent and Ianis Hagi are all very likely to start but one of the four attacking slots remains up for grabs.

Cedric Itten returned to matchday squad at the weekend against the Terrors but he’s unlikely to be risked from the start in Gibraltar and while Jermain Defoe may make the trip, a start is definitely out of the question for the veteran following his own injury problems.

That leaves Stewart to fight it out with Scott Arfield for a starting berth.

Arfield is Stewart’s main competition for an attacking slot. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

The Canada international made an excellent impact off the bench against the Terrors on Saturday, playing a big part in the third goal and rounding off the scoring with a fine finish in the 87th minute.

However, when starting matches, he’s often looked more comfortable in midfield than when deployed in the attacking right position, and that could be a factor in the manager’s thinking.

Rangers enter this important game as heavy favourites and after a frustrating start to the campaign, Stewart will be hoping that Gerrard gives him an opportunity to show what he can offer in the final third, either from the start or with a meaningful substitute appearance.

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