Injury problems may force us into handing Murphy an early return – Gerrard

Steven Gerrard has suggested the return of long-term absentee Jamie Murphy may come sooner rather than later following injuries to Rangers wingers Ryan Kent and Jordan Jones.

Murphy has been sidelined since sustaining a knee injury against Kilmarnock last August.

But a hamstring injury to new signing Kent and Jones’ knee problem have left Rangers short of options out wide ahead of a busy fixture schedule which begins with Thursday’s Europa League clash against Feyenoord.

Gerrard has highlighted the importance of managing Brandon Barker carefully after he scored his first goal for the club against Livingston at the weekend, having replaced Kent just before half-time, and he is considering bringing Murphy back into the fold in the near future.

He told the club’s official website: “What we have tried to do here is build a squad – not just a team.

“So it is that realisation that if you are not in the XI you have to be ready to come on from the side, and if you are outside the squad, be pushing in training to get into the 18.

“That is what we want and we think will bring out the best in everyone really. We suffered an injury to Jordan Jones and suffered an injury to Ryan Kent, so Brandon came on and made a contribution, which should do his confidence the world of good.

“We just have to be careful with Brandon now that we don’t almost think he can play every game now – we have to manage him in the right way as well.

“It also might make us push Jamie Murphy forward a bit quicker to give us another option as we will be without Jordan Jones for probably another three to four weeks and it looks like Ryan is going to be a couple of weeks as well, so we might have to push Jamie a bit quicker.

“I think he is ready to be part of the 18, but I’m not sure he will be ready to go in and start games in succession.

“He is certainly training very well, and I think in the last week to 10 days, you can see some of his strength coming back, so he is certainly ready to contribute, but I will have to manage his minutes that suit him and be patient with him as well.”