Glasgow Rangers return to action at Ibrox tonight as they look to make their way through to the last four of the Europa League.
Gio van Bronckhorst’s side are 1-0 down on aggregate heading into this evening’s fixture and will be hoping to turn things around to qualify for the semi-finals of the competition.
They head into the game off the back of a 4-0 win in the Premiership on Sunday, with Kemar Roofe’s hat-trick and Joe Aribo’s wonder strike securing all three points.
However, they will have to make at least one change to their starting XI from that match. Swedish international Filip Helander has been ruled out for the rest of the season and would be ineligible to face Braga irrespective of his fitness because he was left out of the Europa League squad.
This means that a spot has opened up at centre-back alongside Connor Goldson ahead of the clash with Braga…
Will Rangers beat Braga on Thursday?
Nigerian international Leon Balogun started in the first leg in Portugal but Van Bronckhorst must leave him on the bench this time out. Instead of going with the experienced battler, he must start Calvin Bassey at centre-back tonight.
In the 1-0 defeat to Braga, the 33-year-old ex-Wigan man made a direct error leading to the opposition’s only goal of the game. His failed clearance allowed Abel Ruiz to smash the ball past Allan McGregor and Bassey must now move across to centre-back, with Borna Barisic keeping his place at left-back from the weekend.
Bassey has been in fine fettle in Europe this season, averaging a SofaScore rating of 6.92 across 10 appearances in the competition. The defender has settled into a prominent role in the first-team and has coped with the step up to playing European football.
He was previously dubbed “phenomenal” by Leicester City coach Steve Beaglehole and Van Bronckhorst also claimed earlier this season that he is “full of energy” at the back, with his form living up to the praise.
In the Premiership, he has averaged a score of 6.97 over 26 starts. He has won 62% of his duels in the division and helped Rangers to keep 13 clean sheets in that time, as he has proven that he can perform to a high level on a consistent basis in the Scottish top-flight.
The 22-year-old tank has shown that he can be a reliable option for Van Bronckhorst over the course of the season, domestically and in Europe, and he must now be called upon for this gigantic clash at Ibrox tonight.