Giovanni van Bronckhorst believes Rangers will be boosted by the return of Alfredo Morelos to the squad for the Old Firm derby, but admits losing Tom Lawrence to injury is a blow.
Colombia striker Morelos was suspended for the last two matches after a red card at Hibernian, but had been left out of the Light Blues squad to face PSV Eindhoven in the Champions League play-off game due to fitness levels and other concerns, including his attitude.
But the Gers boss welcomed Morelos’s return against Celtic at Parkhead on Saturday.
He said: “Yes, Alfredo is in the squad for tomorrow. I had good talk with him last Sunday and I think he understood the message and also worked hard to be back and to help the team because he is still a quality player with a lot of threat in front of goal.
“He has been training this week, very positive, so he will be included in the squad.
“You want players in your squad who can change games and Alfredo is definitely a player who can do that.
“He is still a threat in front of goal so that gives me another option up front. I am happy for all of us that he is back and he looks very positive.
“It is now for him to make sure he maintains this and also contributes when he is on the pitch.”
Lawrence picked up an injury – reportedly to his knee – during 4-0 win over Ross County at Ibrox last week.
The 28-year-old Wales attacker, signed from Derby in the summer, will also miss the Champions League games away to Ajax and at home to Napoli.
Van Bronckhorst said: “Tom is not available for tomorrow. Unfortunately he had more problems the day after the game last week which means he will be out and I don’t expect him back before the international break, so he is some weeks out.
“To be a player and be sidelined is never a good feeling. Tom had a great start to his Rangers career and as a coach it is disappointing that he is not available for a couple of weeks but that sometimes happens so we need to try and get Tom back as soon as possible and make sure we are performing with the players we have available.”
The former Feyenoord boss gave a round-up of his other injured players ahead of the first Old Firm game of the season, where Rangers trail leaders Celtic by two points.
Ben Davies, John Souttar and Kemar Roofe remain out with unspecified injuries.
Filip Helander is still out with a foot problem and midfielder Ianis Hagi has been sidelined since January after suffering cruciate ligament damage
Van Bronckhorst said: “Ben is training with the squad at the moment, so that looks very positive.
“Kemar is also close to rejoining the group, hopefully in the next couple of weeks.
“John and Filip will be a longer absence, I hope I can give you an update over the weekend and Hagi is doing his programme, he had a long-term injury. Hopefully we can have him back after the World Cup but he is on schedule.”
The former Rangers, Arsenal and Netherlands player is “very excited” about taking on Celtic.
He said: “We are ready for the task. It is a very difficult ground to go to but we have everything to play for and we are ready for the challenge we are facing tomorrow. We will go all out to win the game.”