Rangers: James Tavernier battling to prove fitness for Bayer Leverkusen match

James Tavernier came off injured last midweek against Hamilton and did not feature at the weekend
Europa League: Rangers v Bayer Leverkusen
Venue: Ibrox Stadium Date: Thursday, 12 March Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
Coverage: Follow updates on BBC Radio Scotland 810MW/DAB & the BBC Sport website

Rangers captain James Tavernier will be given “until the last minute” to prove his fitness for Thursday’s Europa League visit of Bayer Leverkusen, says manager Steven Gerrard.

The right-back is battling a foot problem and did not train on Wednesday.

Midfielder Ryan Jack and striker Jermain Defoe will miss the last-16 first leg, but Scott Arfield is fit to play after a hamstring injury.

“Arfield is available; he has trained the last few days,” Gerrard said.

“Ryan Jack won’t make it. Defoe will be out for a couple of weeks with a calf problem. Tavernier didn’t train today with a foot problem but we will give him until the last minute to make it.

“If Tavernier is not passed fit for the match we have both Matt Polster in the squad and young Nathan Patterson who are available if required.”

Tavernier was substituted during last Wednesday’s defeat by Hamilton and was not involved in Sunday’s win away to Ross County. Polster deputised in Dingwall and Patterson made his first-team debut against Stranraer in January.

‘It would be a real shame if competitions can’t finish’

Bayer Leverkusen announced on Tuesday evening that next week’s second leg in Germany would be played behind closed doors, one of a number of European fixtures to have been affected by the coronavirus.

The outbreak has not affected Scottish domestic fixtures as yet.

And Gerrard commented: “I think it would be a real big shame for everyone around Europe and the world if the league campaigns and cup competitions can’t finish, because people have earned the opportunity to get to the stage where everyone is at.

“So I don’t want to see anything finish right now. If we are told the only way to get stuff finished off (is to play behind closed doors) and we are told to do that we will follow.”

BBC News

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