The departure of Steven Gerrard to Aston Villa and the arrival of Giovanni van Bronckhorst at Ibrox has provided a final chance for pacy winger Brandon Barker to revive his Rangers career.
During his first season and a half at Ibrox, Barker played sporadically, showing glimpses of real ability but more often than not flattering to deceive. He then headed out on loan to Oxford United.
When he returned for pre-season, Gerrard suggested that there was still a role for the 25-year-old to play moving forward, but he then proceeded to ignore him once the competitive fixtures began.
Barker was left out of the Gers’ Europa League squad and he hasn’t played a single minute of first-team football this season, only making the bench once.
It was clear that he was out of the picture under the previous manager and with the January transfer window approaching and his contract running down, an exit looked inevitable.
It’s still very unlikely that Barker has a future at Ibrox beyond the end of this season, but the arrival of van Bronckhorst offers him a clean slate of sorts.
GvB said on Monday that he’ll be taking on board information passed on by staff from the previous regime but also forming his own opinions on players [Rangers YouTube].
The Dutchman prefers his wide men to stay wide rather than occupying ‘inside forward’ roles and that should suit someone like Barker, who has pace to burn.
Perhaps this is the opening the former Man City Academy Player of the Year needed.
With no assists and just three goals to his name since joining the club in the summer of 2019, his stats don’t make for good reading.
Yet, the fact that he wasn’t involved in Sunday’s shambolic semi-final showing could work in his favour and if he catches the eye at Auchenhowie over the coming weeks, his first playing time of the season could follow.