Date: 18th September 2018 at 6:09am
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Rangers manager Steven Gerrard is hopeful that both Lassana Coulibaly and Ovie Ejaria will be available for Thurday night’s clash against Villarreal in the UEFA Europa League.

The Gers’ group stage campaign in the competition kicks off in Spain in just a few days time and will likely be the side’s toughest test of the season so far. Hugely important then that the manager has the strongest possible squad available to him.

While Ryan Jack looks set to miss out on the match with a calf injury, Gerrard is hopeful of being boosted by the availability of Coulibaly and Ejaria.

The former started Saturday’s match against Dundee after a month out, but was substituted early in the second half, while Ejaria missed out after suffering a training injury.

As quoted by The Evening Times, Gerrard said of Coulibaly’s return:

We’ve missed him, his power, his energy, his tenacity, the way he bites at people. I was thinking about taking him off at half-time, but I just wanted to give him another 10 then get him off and save his legs. Hopefully we can use him again on Thursday if the fitness coach allows.

While also offering this regarding Liverpool loanee Ejaria:

It’s a small niggle he got yesterday in training, he felt a bit of hip flexing. It’s days, he should be available for Thursday, worst case for the weekend.

Having them both ready to play against the Spanish outfit would be a great boost to the first team with both showing various points this summer how important they are to the way Rangers play.

Ejaria has the ability to create something special, as evidenced by his goal in Russia, while Coulibaly offers a unique defensive presence in the middle of the park.

Fingers crossed the midfield is as strong as can be.