Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Fleck back in Rangers’ first-team fold

Rangers boss Walter Smith is hoping John Fleck has learned his lesson after recalling the teenager for tonight's friendly against Manchester City.

Fleck, 17, was dropped to the reserves for the games against Portadown and Glentoran, amid reports of a bust-up with assistant manager Ally McCoist.

Smith insisted the youngster was left out of the Emirates Cup squad for a different reason, and the club confirmed the manager had been “unhappy” with the player's attitude.

Fleck responded to being axed by scoring twice in the reserves' |6-1 win over the Ports and also played in the 2-1 defeat against the Glens.

He was back in the first-team fold at Murray Park yesterday morning and is set to play some part against City at Ibrox.

“He'll be back into our squad,” said Smith, who also confirmed Alan Gow was on the brink of completing a move to Plymouth following Charlie Adam's £500,000 switch to Blackpool.

“The fee has been agreed by the clubs and it's just up to the player to make his agreement with Plymouth, so we await the result of that.”

Smith cut a resigned figure when asked if the sales of Gow and Adam — the latest in a series of departures from Ibrox this summer — would allow funds to be released for him to improve the squad.

“Not really,” he said. “We have to bring in a level of money and that will help, obviously, go towards it, but we're still some way short.”

Despite the purse strings being tied tightly, Smith will continue to window shop in the hope of picking up a bargain.

He said: “Because the financial situation is dictating that we won't bring in many players, it doesn't mean to say we stop looking for them. I think that would be a dangerous thing to do.”

Smith could be forgiven for gazing with envy at their wealthy opponents, who are almost single-handedly defying the credit crunch in a bid to break into the Premier League top four.

The Rangers boss warned success may not be instantaneous and called for opposite number Mark Hughes to be given time to mould his stars into a unit.

“It's one of the interesting aspects of next season, just to see how they manage to put their team together,” Smith said.

“I just hope Mark gets time to settle them into a team.”

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