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Giovanni van Bronckhorst ready to rotate Rangers squad for Lyon clash

By December 8, 2021No Comments

Giovanni van Bronckhorst is set to ring the changes for Rangers’ Europa League dead rubber against Lyon on Thursday.

The Dutchman guided the Scottish champions into the knockout round play-offs in his first game as Steven Gerrard’s successor with a 2-0 home win over Sparta Prague last month.

The French side have dominated Group A with five wins out of five to take them into the next stage as section winners ahead of the final fixture.

With a tough cinch Premiership game away to Hearts on Sunday looming, Van Bronckhorst, who has won all four games since taking over the Ibrox hot seat, will utilise his squad with players such as Nathan Patterson, John Lundstram and Scott Wright in line for a start.

“We have to watch the physical state of my players closely,” said the former Gers midfielder, who will assess his squad’s fitness following their final training session, although defender Leon Balogun remains out with a knock.

“It is also a game where I can change some positions and give other players some minutes who need them. I am more than comfortable to do that.

“For the players who come in it is always good to have minutes.

“One of the downsides of being a coach with a big squad with good players is to disappoint players every game.

“That is not easy to do but you have to do it and when you have the chance to give those players a chance to play it is always good, it is a nice feeling and for the players as well, because some players didn’t play as much in the last weeks but gave everything in training and their mentality was good.

“So I am very pleased to give some players minutes tomorrow.

“No matter what we will still be second in the group but I think this is a good game for us against an excellent side who are first in the group.

“We want to reach our level very game. It is good to see where the players stand and where we stand as a team and the experience is very good for our development.”

Rangers fans who make the trip to Lyon following travel advice chaos will have the respect of the Gers boss.

The Ibrox club were informed last week that their travelling supporters would get into the final group game, only to be left bemused and frustrated on Monday when that decision was overturned.

However, Gers fans will now be allowed to make the trip following another U-turn by French authorities.

Van Bronckhorst, who played for the Ibrox club between 1998 and 2001, said: “My first experience of Rangers fans was in 1998 when we had the first game away against Shelbourne (at Tranmere Rovers’ ground) and the huge support was, for me, something different.

“And after those years and also the couple of weeks here at the club I know how the fans are, they want to travel with the team and support us.

“It is very important for us that we have our fans behind us every game.

“So I can imagine it is not easy for the fans to be left in the dark in the last couple of days because you want to know what is happening.

“They can travel one day, then they have to stay and later the same day they can travel, it is not easy.

“But I hugely respect their presence in the stadium and hopefully the fans who wanted to go Lyon still can go to Lyon and give us the support we need and appreciate.”