Rangers' opponents Antwerp rocked by injury crisis ahead of Europa League clash
Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen Fotografie/BSR Agency/Getty Images

Rangers' opponents Antwerp rocked by injury crisis ahead of Europa League clash

Royal Antwerp have been rocked by an injury crisis ahead of their Europa League Round of 32 tie against Rangers [Daily Record].

The first leg of the knockout tie is set to take place at the Bosuilstadion on Thursday night and the Gers are in good shape heading into the game.

Steven Gerrard will have close to a full squad to pick from in Belgium. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Ryan Jack is back to full fitness, Scott Arfield made his first appearance of 2021 against Kilmarnock on Saturday and both Alfredo Morelos and Kemar Roofe are back available.

Their hosts are in a very different position, though.

Not only are The Great Old without controversial striker Didier Lamkel Zé due to suspension, but they are also missing several other first-team players due to injury, while doubts remain over a further two stars.

“We have an absolute maximum of 18 first team players available for the match against Rangers,” said manager Franky Vercauteren [Daily Record].

“(Faris) Haroun and (Dieumerci) Mbokani are on the recovery path, but they still haven’t trained and are out, just like (Alexis) De Sart and (Jean) Butez.

“We are hoping (Birger) Verstraete and (Dylan) Batubinsika will be ready to play. Their situation is being closely monitored every day.”

Vercauteren has confirmed that Antwerp are suffering an injury crisis ahead of their clash against Rangers. (Photo by Jeroen Meuwsen Fotografie/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

Lamkel Zé has netted three times in his last three Belgian Pro League matches and DR Congo international Mbokani has eight goals in domestic competition, so it’s a big blow for Vercauteren to be without both strikers.

Rangers are unbeaten in nine European matches so far this season and go into the tie as favourites after topping Group D.

Two Gers players will have to be careful if selected on Thursday night, though, as they are on the brink of picking up suspensions.