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Kyle Lafferty could be given Rangers chance in Morelos' absence, hints Gerrard

Kyle Lafferty could be set to join Jermain Defoe in the Rangers line-up again this weekend.
Kyle Lafferty could be set to join Jermain Defoe in the Rangers line-up again this weekend.
Opportunity: Jermain Defoe reacts to a missed chance

Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty has made just eight starts since rejoining Rangers in the summer but boss Steven Gerrard has hinted that his big chance may be coming up.

With star striker Alfredo Morelos facing further matches out through suspension, the 31-year-old may be considered to support Jermain Defoe for key upcoming league matches.

Morelos has already netted 23 goals for the Gers this term but after earning his fourth red card of the campaign in last week's win over Aberdeen, Gerrard knows this other forwards must play their part.

Defoe led the line, assisted by wingers Kent and Candeias, in Saturday's scoreless Scottish Cup draw at Kilmarnock but missed a glorious late opportunity after James Tavernier's penalty had been saved.

Morelos will be back for the replay but will miss Ladbrokes Premiership games against St Johnstone and Hamilton either side of the February 20 contest at Ibrox, meaning Lafferty could be in line for a return alongside Defoe.

The pair previously started together at Cowdenbeath, when Lafferty found the net for his fifth goal of the season in what is his only start since the turn of the year.

"They are two different types of players," Gerrard began, speaking about Morelos and Defoe. "They are obviously both very strong in front of goal, but they are very different, so we have to adapt to whoever it is that's leading the line.

"We also have Kyle (Lafferty) in the running as well. We might decide to go down a different way.

"That's for me to work out in the coming days and weeks, but we are definitely in a stronger position when you think about what position we were in with just two strikers in the first six months.

"I'm delighted to have Jermain here, it gives us more firepower, more options to maybe do different things."

Gerrard was satisfied to ensure Rangers are in tonight's draw, albeit not yet the quarter-finals.

"It's been a hell of a start (to 2019), a tricky start," he said. "You think about our league fixtures - coming here on turf, Livingston away on turf, Aberdeen away, playing on a pitch like Cowdenbeath.

"We have had a tough start and have had to come here again in the cup on turf on the back of Wednesday night.

"That's the reason I am satisfied because at times you have got to take into consideration what the players have been through.

"But now we have got a run of fixtures, some at home, a replay in the cup, players have got time to recover, and we get ready for St Johnstone."

Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke was far from despondent about losing home advantage.

He hopes to have striker Eamonn Brophy and defender Stuart Findlay back fit for the replay, while Aaron Tshibola was unable to replace Alan Power when his fellow midfielder suffered a head injury, after the on-loan Aston Villa man suffered a thigh strain in the warm-up.

Clarke said: "We have been to Ibrox already this season and didn't lose. In my time at the club, we always go there, we are always competitive.

"The tie is still open. Rangers will be slight favourites now but we are still in it."

Belfast Telegraph


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