Caixinha sweats on six defenders for Rangers clash against Kilmarnock
By Alex Stevens
Pedro Caixinha has revealed he is sweating on six defensive options for Rangers’ Scottish Premiership clash against Kilmarnock.
The Rangers boss was forced into three half-time changes in a total defensive overhaul in Saturday’s 1-1 draw against Motherwell and was already missing Danny Wilson through injury and James Tavernier, who would have been struggling to play even if he had not been suspended.
The defensive trio of skipper Lee Wallace (stomach), Clint Hill (hamstring) and Lee Hodson (fever) were withdrawn at the break and replaced by midfield pair Andy Halliday and Michael O’Halloran, and forward Joe Garner.
New manager Caixinha, in just his second game at the helm, rejigged the formation by switching to a three-man defence, that included Jon Toral and Halliday dropping back from midfield to line up alongside Rob Kiernan at the back, and McKay and O’Halloran pressed into unfamiliar wing-back roles.
Caixinha delivered an update on the defensive quintet while also admitting he has concerns for Toral on Rugby Park’s artificial surface.
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“Danny, as far as I know, is not training today again, James is returning,” Caixinha told the official Rangers website. “James was not only suspended but he was feeling something from the previous week.
“I’m not sure if Clint can totally recover, Lee Wallace as well, so I believe those two for sure should be out, and Lee Hodson maybe in the next couple of days, I cannot be one hundred percent but I believe at least for the game we can have him.
“I don’t know also about Jon Toral because of the surface we are going to play.
“He has had some problems with his knee, he faced some surgery on the knee, and this is the surface that normally means we need to take care of those players.”
Rangers secured a point against Motherwell thanks partly to an outstanding display in goal from Wes Foderingham.
But Caixinha’s side lost ground in the race to finish second over the weekend, following Aberdeen’s stunning 7-0 demolition of Dundee on Friday night.
Aberdeen, who host Inverness on Tuesday night, are now 10 points ahead of third-placed Rangers.