Veteran Rangers defender Bruno Alves returned to full training on Thursday after spending more than a month out injured – but after the recent form of David Bates and Russell Martin it isn’t clear if there is any place for the Portuguese international to come straight back into the starting XI.
Alves limped out of the December 30th Old Firm clash with a calf injury after only 17 minutes to be replaced by former Raith Rovers defender Bates and the 21-year-old has barely put a foot wrong since coming into the side.
Bates is never going to be a world-class defender but the Kirkcaldy-born youngster has been solid defensively and it would be incredibly harsh on him to axe him from the side now Alves is fit again.
The arrival of Martin in January – in what looks as though it was intended to be as a replacement for Alves – might have pushed the 36-year-old down the pecking order for a place in the starting XI.
Gers boss Graeme Murty could face a further headache when Ross McCrorie returns from injury in a few weeks with the 19-year-old’s long-term position likely to be in the heart of defence despite a stint in central midfield this season.
The trip to Somerset Park to face Ayr United in the Scottish Cup this weekend might give Alves a chance to stake a claim for a place in the startig XI going forward but the Portuguese international looks like he has a fight on his hands to get back in the side with a World Cup rapidly approaching.
In other Rangers news, it can be revealed that a key first teamer has sensationally asked to leave after the board failed to stick to their promise of giving him a new deal during the transfer window.
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