Rangers welcome Hearts to Ibrox on Sunday afternoon and some rotation is on the cards ahead of a big couple of weeks for the club’s season.
One man who could be given a rest is Borna Barisic.
He’s been one of the Gers’ form players in recent times, having finally put the injury and confidence issues of his first season behind him.
However, the fact that he’s nailed down the left-back spot, means he’s had an extremely heavy workload over the last two months. The 27-year-old has started every Gers game since the Europa League win over Feyenoord at Ibrox in mid-September and has also played 90 minutes on three occasions for Croatia over that period [Transfermarkt].
If anyone is deserving of a breather ahead of huge games against Aberdeen, Celtic and Young Boys, it’s him.
Should Gerrard opt to leave Barisic on the bench, it’s likely to open up an opportunity for a fringe player who has struggled with injury of late.
Rangers defender Flanagan could earn start against Hearts
Jon Flanagan has endured a tough season so far, making just six first-team appearances, with the most recent of those coming in the Old Firm at the beginning of September.
The ex-Liverpool man has been held back by a combination of injury (two hernia operations) and Barisic’s excellent form.
However, he got a run out in the Challenge Cup quarter-final against Wrexham at Ibrox a fortnight ago, as one of two overage players Colts XI.
There’s no doubt that while he’s a solid defender, he offers far less than Barisic going forward. Yet, against a Hearts side with a very leaky defence, the Gers should have enough firepower regardless.
While Hearts can’t be taken lightly, this looks to be the most straightforward of Rangers’ upcoming tasks and therefore, it’s the perfect opportunity to manage Barisic’s workload and to get more minutes into Flanagan’s legs.