Rangers are back in Scottish Premiership action on Sunday afternoon with a trip to Edinburgh to face Hearts.
The Jambos have had a horror season so far and currently sit at the foot of the table, but they secured a draw against the Gers at Tynecastle in October and no one will be taking this one lightly.
Despite his side putting in a fairly uninspiring display in a 1-0 win over St Mirren on Wednesday night, it’s unlikely that Steven Gerrard will make many changes to his starting XI.
James Tavernier and Filip Helander are both definitely out through injury, while Greg Stewart will at least be doubtful having missed the first two fixtures of 2020.
Alfredo Morelos is also unavailable, as he’s serving the final match of a suspension.
The biggest decision the manager has to make is at right-back. Nathan Patterson deputised for Tavernier against Stranraer, while Jon Flanagan played against St Mirren.
Matt Polster is another option not yet seen this year.
Patterson is young and inexperienced, but he brings more in attack and is already a big hit with the supporters. By way of contrast, Flanagan is the experienced option, who is proven defensively but poor in attack and much-maligned by fans.
There’s been plenty of debate over this quandary in recent days, but we expect Gerrard to stick with his guns with Flanagan.
It’s simply too big a risk to throw 18-year-old Patterson into what has the potential to be a physical encounter with Hearts. Flanagan’s inclusion will ensure the Gers are extremely limited in an attacking sense down the right, but a clean sheet takes priority this weekend.
Elsewhere, there are few fringe players banging down the door.
The manager praised Sheyo Ojo for his cameo against the Buddies [RangersTV], but he’s unlikely to dislodge either Ryan Kent or Joe Aribo on the weight of a positive ten minutes.
As the midweek matchwinner and only available striker, Jermain Defoe is nailed on to lead the line, while the midfield trio of Glen Kamara, Ryan Jack and Steven Davis are likely to continue, with Scott Arfield providing a different option from the bench.
Rangers Predicted XI vs Hearts (A) – 26/01/2020
GK – Allan McGregor
RB – Jon Flanagan
CB – Connor Goldson
CB – Nikola Katic
LB – Borna Barisic
CDM – Glen Kamara
CM – Ryan Jack
CM – Steven Davis
RF – Joe Aribo
LF – Ryan Kent
ST – Jermain Defoe