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Champions League suspension to Balogun, others: Big blow to Rangers – Gerrard

Steven Gerrard has said losing Kemar Roofe, as well as Leon Balogun and Glen Kamara, to Champions League suspension is “a huge blow” for Rangers.

An appeal against striker Roofe’s four-match ban was this week rejected by Uefa.

Kamara will miss three games and Balogun one, all from Rangers’ stormy Europa League loss to Slavia Prague.

“It’s my job to make sure the squad can try to cope without those names,” manager Gerrard said.

read also:Defoe wants Aribo, Balogun’s union at Rangers to continue

Rangers have already announced one summer signing, having confirmed that 24-year-old Zambia striker Fashion Sakala will switch to Ibrox from Oostende in Belgium’s top flight.

“He will make us a lot quicker, a lot more dynamic and gives the team and squad a lot more pace in the forward areas,” Gerrard said. “So I’m really excited to work with him. There’s potential there on a big scale.”

Winger Scott Wright arrived from Aberdeen and centre-half Jack Simpson from Bournemouth in January and Gerrard suggested that they “will be like two new signings as well”.

“You can see they are already starting to settle. Jack obviously took a little more time, but we knew that because he hadn’t played much at Bournemouth,” he said. “But they are cooking away nicely and will be ready to go with a strong pre-season behind them.”

Gerrard thought it “too early to say” whether Ryan Jack would be available for the Champions League qualifiers despite reporting that the Scotland midfielder had undergone successful surgery on a knee injury.

“He’ll start his rehab now and hopefully we’ll have him back some time in pre-season,” he said. “But one thing’s for sure – we won’t be rushing it. It’s the type of surgery in an area where you can’t afford to rush or push.”

Meanwhile, Rangers have all four players nominated for the PFA Scotland union’s player of the year award.

Right-back and captain James Tavernier, goalkeeper Allan McGregor, veteran midfielder Steven Davis and winger Ryan Kent make up the nominees, as voted for by Scotland’s players, with the winner to be announced on Sunday.

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