By Matt Farr
Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha believes attacker Joe Garner will have an important role to play at Ibrox next season.
The 29-year-old has struggled to live up to billing following his arrival at the club at the start of the season, scoring just seven goals from 30 Scottish Premiership appearances.
But he has rediscovered some form under Caixinha in the last few months, scoring in each of his last two appearances, and the Portuguese insists he can have a key role to play next season.
However, Caixinha did admit that changes will have to be made in order to get the best out of his target-man in attack, hinting that he is not being supplied properly from the wider areas.
He told Rangers TV, as quoted by the club’s official website: “Joe can help any team because he is a goalscorer if the ball gets into the box. In the last two games the balls have arrived on the exact spot he likes to be.
“If we have a team who can work and spend more time on the surrounds of the box and the ball arrives more with more quality in the box then he will score goals for sure.
“We are looking to have much more association with the wide areas next season and increase those combinations. We are looking for the arrival of totally different sorts of players to perform in that zone.”
Both Garner’s headed goals during the recent wins over Partick Thistle and Hearts came from crosses in the wider areas, proving that the former Preston striker can be effective in the air.
But much of Rangers style of play this season has seen the ball move through the middle of the park from midfield to attack, which has seen Garner’s influence limited in the final third.
His aggressive streak, meanwhile, has often caught the headlines instead of his goalscoring exploits, with the English striker having picked up 11 yellow cards this season.
Caixinha is expected to axe a number of players as part of a major overhaul of the first-team squad this summer, but his comments on Garner suggests that he will be keeping faith in him next season.
In other Rangers news, Caixinha has taken this dig at Aberdeen ahead of their clash at Ibrox on Wednesday night.