In a boost for Rangers, Sparta Prague boss Pavel Vrba has confirmed multiple injury blows for his side ahead of Thursday evening’s Europa League Group A clash.
Steven Gerrard was already without three players who likely would have started the match if fit, in Filip Helander, Ryan Jack and Ryan Kent.
Then, it emerged that despite taking part in training on Wednesday, vice-captain Connor Goldson would also miss out.
However, opposition manager Vrba confirmed during his press conference on Wednesday that Sparta won’t exactly be at full strength either.
“LK37 (Ladislav Krejčí II) has a problem with a thigh muscle,” he said, as quoted by Sparta.cz. “[Ladislav] Krejčí [I] has difficulties with his blood. [Casper] Hojer is pausing because of the torn heel. [Filip] Souček got injured in the last game and he tore the lateral knee ligament.”
“These four players will definitely not be ready for tomorrow.”
The update follows a report that claimed as many as eight Sparta first-team players could miss the match and although Vrba didn’t mention star striker Lukas Julis, he’s been out since early August with a groin problem.
The confirmed absences look set to leave Sparta weak in the middle of the park and on the left flank, with one Ladislav Krejčí a midfielder and the other a left winger, while Soucek plays in midfield and Hojer at left-back.
Steven Gerrard may look to target those areas as a result and in James Tavernier, he certainly has a right-back capable of taking advantage of any frailties on that side of the pitch.
A pacy winger will also be hoping for a chance to show what he can do in the Czech capital.