By Alan Hutton

10th Nov, 2021 | 8:01am

Rangers tipped to trigger defender clause in January after shattering Helander update - Hutton

Nikola Katic could have his Hadjuk Split loan cut short in January to give Rangers an extra option, according to Alan Hutton.

The former Gers defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the Ibrox club will not be looking to the transfer market despite some key absences in the role.

Ben Dinnery, who runs the Premier Injuries site and has a background in medicine and data analysis, told this site that defender Filip Helander may not return to play for Rangers until late January (November 7th).

This injury blow will be complicated further by the African Cup of Nations. The tournament runs from January 9th – February 6th 2022.

Ibrox stars Leon Balogun and Calvin Bassey are likely to receive call-ups from Nigeria for the tournament.

Katic returned to his native Croatia on a season-long loan in the summer.

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However, the deal includes a January recall clause which could see the 25-year-old return to Rangers prematurely.

When asked about the possibility of the Gers dipping into the transfer market in January, Hutton told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury: “I don’t think they’ll look to bring anyone in – they have got options in reserve.

“There’s Jack Simpson who can play in that position.

“Katic could be recalled as well, there’s a clause in his loan even though it runs until the end of the season.

“I don’t see bringing in a centre-back being at the top of the manager’s list.

“The depth in the squad, for me, at the moment looks really good.

Rangers will be happy even though they have lost one of their best players and they will lose another to the African Cup of Nations.”

Helander has not appeared for Rangers since September after suffering a knee injury.

Manager Steven Gerrard updated in October to reveal the Swede is “40-50 per cent” through his recovery from surgery.

In other news, Gerrard set to tell Rangers board he wants Aston Villa job.