Rangers could make a smart transfer call and bring back a promising loanee this month, should their midfield injury woes deepen.
Ryan Jack and Scott Arfield are both currently sidelined, leaving Steven Gerrard with only four established senior midfielders – Steven Davis, Glen Kamara, Joe Aribo and Bongani Zungu – to call upon.
Jack is expected back soon after recently resuming pitch sessions, but he’s had several setbacks already and with three positions to fill for each game, any further injuries in that area of the squad would leave the manager with a problem.
Often, the natural response for clubs in such a situation is to enter the transfer market in order to sign a player capable of providing cover.
However, if the Gers opted to bring in someone on a permanent deal, it would likely mean parting with a fee and increasing the wage bill significantly, only for Gerrard to be left with too many options in a month or so when the injured players return to fitness.
Instead, he should consider taking a different approach and recalling Stephen Kelly from his loan spell at Ross County.
Rangers regularly include recall clauses in the loan deals of young players, with Josh McPake and Rhys Breen both briefly recalled from Morton and Partick Thistle respectively earlier this month before heading out elsewhere.
In an ideal world, 20-year-old Kelly would stay with the Staggies to get a full Premiership season under his belt.
However, in his 16 appearances to date, he’s proven he can handle playing in the top flight and he would represent a much better alternative to a panic buy.
The Scotland youth international still has some bulking up to do, but he’s technically very strong and won Young Player of the Year at Championship club Ayr United last season.
Contracted until 2023, Kelly is already highly-regarded at Ibrox and a recall amid an injury crisis would offer him the perfect opportunity to further impress both the coaching staff and the supporters.
Another Rangers loanee currently looking to impress in the Premiership will be forced to watch his team from the sidelines this weekend due to an Ibrox transfer clause.