Michael Beale knows Rangers duo Kemar Roofe and Tom Lawrence will now be desperate for more game time after both returned to action after lengthy spells in a friendly against Hamburg at Ibrox.
First-half goals from attacker Fashion Sakala and captain James Tavernier, with a penalty, had the Light Blues comfortably ahead at the interval and before a slew of substitutions took place.
Amid the replacements, Nigeria forward Cyriel Dessers – signed from Cremonese – made his home debut with Roofe coming back to action after a hip injury had kept him out since February, with fellow attacker Lawrence making his first appearance since August 2022, after he had recovered from a knee problem.
Hamburg substitute Jean-Luc Dompe curled in a fantastic free-kick in the last minute to make it 2-1 but the Gers boss was left with only positive vibes.
“Tom has come back after 10 months out,” said Beale, who is “confident enough” of getting in Ecuador midfielder Jose Cifuentes – after an agreement was reached with Major League Soccer side Los Angeles – before the opening cinch Premiership game against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on August 5.
“He (Lawrence) has been training outstandingly but you can see he needs to pick up his fitness. Almost a year out is a long time.
“It was always going to be towards the end of August when he could really put his foot to the floor and be at the maximum of being back, back.
“He’s racing ahead. In training, when we’re doing the smaller, tighter stuff, he looks fantastic and shows his quality.
“We know that there’s a step from that to a real game but it’s wonderful to have him back, similar to Kemar, two players that we were robbed of last season.
“Kemar and Tom are not the easiest people to manage because they want to play games.
“As much as I want to push them along slowly, they’ll have an opinion on that as well.
“But I think we have a real strength in the forward positions. I wanted to end the Hamburg game with Sam (Lammers) in behind Cyriel and Kemar because it’s something I’m looking at.”
Beale was pleased with the cameo appearance of Dessers in the second half as he highlighted the attacking options he had on the pitch by the end of the game.
The former QPR boss said: “You could see with Cyriel and Kemar that they’re very similar. As a partnership, they could be very, very interesting.
“They’ve probably both done about five or six days of pre-season so you’re seeing them at 30 or 40 per cent fit.
“I think Dessers will be one of three or four players who can get us double figures in goals this season.
“If we’re a good team, we’ll share the goals out. But Cyriel has come in and he’s really fresh, energetic. We’re trying to get as many forwards as we can on the pitch.
“We ended the game today with Dessers, Roofe, Lammers, Lawrence and Cantwell so it’s very front foot.”
Beale previously admitted interest in Feyenoord’s Brazilian forward Danilo, with the Ibrox club reported to have offered £5million for the 24-year-old.
The Rangers boss said: “There’s nothing less or more on Danilo. There’s lots of speculation about bids being accepted or rejected – it’s somewhere in between.
“It’ll either come to fruition or it won’t. He’s a good player but we’re not the only team interested. And he’s not the only target we have either.
“Out of respect for Arne Slot and Feyenoord, the negotiations should stay quiet. Where it goes, we’ll wait and see.”