So everyone is looking ahead to October 28th as the day we find out whether Steven Gerrard will play Umar Sadiq against Aberdeen. But, in reality, we’re going to find out a lot earlier.
As it stands, Sadiq is the only eligible striker to feature against the Dons in the Betfred Cup. Alfredo Morelos and Kyle Lafferty are both suspended for the clash, and this should’ve left Sadiq as a nailed-on starter.
But his life at Ibrox hasn’t been straightforward to say the least. Since arriving, he’s made just three competitive appearances – all of which have come from the bench. Gerrard strongly prefers his other striking duo to the Nigerian. It’s therefore certainly been disappointing for Sadiq at Ibrox so far, as that wasn’t the plan when he came in the door.
Yet, we’ll know in less than two weeks whether Sadiq truly does have a part to play.
The game before the semi-final
Rangers will pitch up in Hamilton on October 21st – one week from the match against Aberdeen. If Sadiq doesn’t feature in any part of that match, he won’t play at Hampden. That much is surely certain.
There’s simply no way that the manager is going to just toss Sadiq in for one of the biggest games of the season without having played in weeks. If Sadiq truly is an option that Gerrard is willing to explore for Dons, he’ll feature before then.
That Hamilton game at the latest is when we could find out whether the Nigerian is truly wanted.
Gerrard has, in the past, spoken very ominously about his future at Ibrox. He’s previously been quoted as saying that his third-choice striker needs to improve on “everything” before coming into contention.
Sadiq himself has been confident about his chances of breaking through, however. He had an interview several weeks ago where he claimed he was happy at Ibrox and looking to fight for the jersey.
Between now and the trip to the SuperSeal Stadium, we’ll know whether the big front-man has won that fight.