Rangers talents Leon King and Jay Hogarth have been spotted in first-team training ahead of Sunday’s Scottish Cup clash against Cove Rangers [Rangers.co.uk]
The teenagers were snapped taking part in training on Friday as preparations were ramped up for the fixture, following the return of those who had been away on international duty.
Leon King & Jay Hogarth training with the 1st team ahead of Sunday's game against Cove Rangers pic.twitter.com/g400QksnE2
— Rangers Youth Updates (@rfcyouthupdates) April 2, 2021
Steven Gerrard has made it clear that the Scottish Cup is the ‘priority’ for Rangers over the final months of the season [Glasgow Times].
However, given that the upcoming assignment is against lower-league opposition, it’s likely that he will take the opportunity to rotate in order to give chances to some players who have struggled for minutes so far this season.
Cup fixtures are often when young players receive opportunities to impress, too.
Nathan Patterson and Kai Kennedy both made their first-team debuts when the Gers took on Stranraer at this stage of the competition last season, while King’s first senior appearance came in a League Cup Round of 16 tie against Falkirk in November.
There’s every chance that if Rangers are comfortably ahead against Cove, another opportunity will be given to the highly-rated 17-year-old defender from the bench in the second half.
It’s less likely that fellow 17-year-old, Hogarth, will be given his first taste of first-team action. Particularly, because he’s a goalkeeper.
However, the Scotland youth international, who signed a contract extension with the club earlier this month [Rangers Youth Academy Twitter], could make the bench if Allan McGregor is given the weekend off.
In order to be named amongst the substitutes, though, he would need to be selected ahead of Andy Firth, with Jon McLaughlin likely to start between the sticks.
Ahead of the game, check out our Predicted XI.