The omission of several Rangers Development squad regulars for Saturday’s 2-1 win over Huddersfield Town, suggests three youngsters are in contention for the Premiership matchday squad against Hearts on Sunday.
Coach, Graeme Murty, named a mainly youthful side for the friendly clash, although out of favour first-teamers Glenn Middleton and Greg Docherty, were both named in the starting XI.
🆕 Your #RangersFC team for this morning's Development squad friendly against Huddersfield Town.
⏰ Kick-off is 11am. pic.twitter.com/AVPrgan7nu
— Rangers B & Academy (@RFC_Youth) January 25, 2020
They covered in part for the absence of three starlets who would normally be involved – Nathan Patterson, Lewis Mayo and Dapo Mebude.
Naturally, anyone featuring for the Development XI today, will not be turning out for the first team just over 24 hours later.
But the fact that these three players trained with the first team on Friday afternoon (see gallery) and were absent today, suggests they may well be in contention for the matchday squad at Tynecastle.
📸 GALLERY: Training for Tynecastle
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) January 24, 2020
Patterson is likely to earn a spot, given that he started and impressed in the Scottish Cup Fourth Round win against Stranraer and then made the bench for the Premiership clash against St Mirren on Wednesday evening.
As we argued on Friday, Dapo Mebude has an outside chance, given that he’s the only genuine striker at Steven Gerrard’s disposal other than Jermain Defoe.
His exclusion from the Development game appears to confirm the theory that he’s at least in the manager’s thoughts.
Lewis Mayo is perhaps the least likely of the trio to make the cut.
It’s likely he was held back this afternoon for the same reason he wasn’t allowed to head out on loan to Partick Thistle this month. With Filip Helander out injured, he provides cover at centre-back.
It seems unlikely that Gerrard will name two central defenders on the bench, but if one of Connor Goldson, Nikola Katic or George Edmundson is carrying a niggle, he would likely then slot into the eighteen.