Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst provided a much needed boost earlier today when he confirmed that Leon Balogun is on the verge of a return to full fitness.
With the team lacking options in central defence at present, the news will be much welcomed although the Nigerian international stalwart will be pushed hard for a place by his compatriot Calvin Bassey, who has made a significant improvement in his own performance levels.
Balogun will be back on the training pitch this weekend, giving him an outside chance of making the squad for the trip to Lyon on Thursday.
“Leon will train with the squad on Sunday, so we will have to check on his fitness in the coming days. He is a player that he will have back very soon”, Gio stated during the presser ahead of the Dundee game at Ibrox on Saturday.
🎙️ GvB: Leon Balogun will train with the squad on Sunday, we look forward to having him back soon.
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) December 3, 2021
Meanwhile, the popular Swedish stopper Filip Helander has resumed light training and expected to be in contention to step up his return later this month, as alluded to by van Bronckhorst last week.
These updates come at a crucial time for the Gers with January’s transfer window just around the corner. Will Gio look to bring in another man at the back? Niko Katic to return? Jack Simpson out of the picture? Connor Goldson to depart next month? We won’t have very long to wait for answers to those serious and viable questions, just a matter of weeks now.
If Fil Helander can return to full fitness for the resumption of the season after the Winter break, it will provide a significant boost to the goal of retaining the title, such is his importance to the team given his quality.
The likes of Balogun an Bassey have deputised well at times for spells but it remains to be seen what the GErs preferred central defensive partnership will be after the turn of the year, given those uncertain questions that need to be answered.