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Rangers in a rush for signings after Bryan deal falls through

By Andy Newport

Steven Gerrard is in a rush to complete his transfer business after a deal to sign Kean Bryan fell through.

The Gers boss targeted the Manchester City academy graduate, who can play in defence and midfield, after he impressed on loan with Oldham last season.

But Gerrard is now looking elsewhere for a central defender after talks with the 21-year-old ended.

"We have loads of targets that we have been monitoring and looking at," said Gerrard after giving 19-year-old Kyle Bradley 45 minutes of action in central defence during yesterday's defeat of Wigan Athletic, which saw Alfredo Morelos and Nikola Katic on target before an Alex Bruce own goal, while Northern Ireland international Will Grigg saw a second-half penalty saved by Wes Foderingham.

"Unfortunately we couldn't get an agreement with Kean," added Gerrard.

"He wants to keep his options open and we respect that. You can see quite clearly that we need a centre-back so that is definitely an area that we are trying to add in.

"Hopefully it will be sooner rather than later."

Gerrard is also looking for a centre-forward but would not expand on the club's failed £200,000 bid for Hearts striker Kyle Lafferty.

When asked if he wanted new players in before next Sunday's Ladbrokes Premiership opener against Aberdeen, Gerrard said: "I would love that. I hope it is tomorrow. I am in a rush."

Meanwhile, Gerrard played down an injury to Morelos, who went off just two minutes after opening the scoring.

"I think it's just a bang, he'll get checked out but we're not too concerned about it," the former Liverpool captain said.

"He showed his importance again, the first goal is always important. He's in that area where we like him, and if we get the right deliveries and the right service into him he'll score."

Josh Windass missed the game with an ankle knock while winger Glenn Middleton featured at left-back amid injuries to Declan John and Lee Wallace.

Rangers will, meanwhile, face Kilmarnock in the second round of the Betfred Cup.

Gerrard's side will travel to Rugby Park on the weekend of August 18-19 to take on a Killie outfit that emerged from Group H with 10 points from four games.

Partick Thistle were rewarded with a home tie against holders Celtic after sneaking into the next phase courtesy of Inverness Caledonian Thistle's hammering by Hearts.

Thistle qualified as the fourth best runner-up after overtaking Inverness on goal difference when Caley went down to a 5-0 defeat at Tynecastle just before the draw took place.

Aberdeen will be at home to St Mirren and Hibernian meet Ross County at Easter Road in a repeat of the 2016 final.

Livingston will host Motherwell, Hearts will travel to Dunfermline after topping Group C while Ayr must visit Dundee after beating Partick on Saturday to maintain their winning run. Queen of the South, meanwhile, host St Johnstone after qualifying as one of the best four runners-up.

Belfast Telegraph


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