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Northern Ireland's Rangers starrs good enough to net new clubs, says Hughes

By Graham Luney

Michael Hughes doesn’t expect the financial crisis at Rangers to derail the careers of its four Northern Ireland internationals.

Gers skipper Steven Davis and his team-mates including Kyle Lafferty, David Healy and Andrew Little agreed to take a massive 75 per cent cut in wages to assist the club’s survival fight.

But in return for that generous gesture, it’s believed the top players were able to force the administrators to agree to reduce their transfer-market values.

It is thought star players such as Davis, Steven Naismith and Steven Whittaker will now be able to leave Ibrox in the summer in cut-price deals.

Northern Ireland fans will be concerned the club’s financial plight might have a negative impact on the careers of the Ulstermen but Hughes can speak with authority and experience on this subject as he was at Wimbledon when they went into administration with a cash shortfall of £3.5m in 2003.

The Football League gave Wimbledon permission to change their name to Milton Keynes Dons FC the following year.

“I’ve no concerns about our boys at Rangers,” said Carrick boss Hughes. “I’ve been through the administration process when I was with Wimbledon when the team folded and while it can be a difficult period to get through the players remain good players.

“Once you have digested the fact that there has been a points deduction it’s about doing the best you can and the players are talented enough to find other clubs if they have to leave. International breaks give the players a release from all that pressure and in fact the players will look forward to playing in a different environment.”

Gers legend Sandy Jardine, who made an impassioned plea for Northern Ireland fans of the club to support a new ‘Fighting Fund’, said: “I’m not concerned about the team going forward because players come and go in the modern era. We are used to that with the Bosman ruling.

“The important thing is the club and that it carries on. The fans now have a role in helping ensure that the day to day running of the club goes on.”

Administrators Duff and Phelps have given a deadline of tomorrow for ‘serious’ bidders to make their interest known and Scots businessman Brian Kennedy, who owns rugby union side Sale Sharks, believes his unconditional offer would be a fall-back option if no other is viable.

A potential new owner is the Blue Knights consortium, led by Paul Murray.

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