Rangers, in the aftermath of a couple of underwhelming seasons since returning to the top tier of Scottish football, are eyeing a new dawn under newly appointed boss Steven Gerrard, the former Liverpool legend, who has overcome the first hurdle by defeating Macedonian outfit FK Shkupi ( Aggregate 2-0 over two legs) in the UEFA Europa League first-round playoff tie.
The challenge will be uphill to dethrone famous rivals Celtic from their domestic supremacy but the iconic English midfielder is not sitting idle and working hard on a squad revamp with 10 new inclusions. The Light Blues, however, are having ample of options in central midfield and despite loaning out Jason Holt to Fleetwood Town, the likes of Graham Dorrans, Ryan Jack, Ross McCrorie, Andy Halliday, Lassana Coulibaly (on loan from Angers) and the new Liverpool loanee Ovie Ejaria are all competing for a place in the starting squad.
This has jeopardized the playing time of Greg Docherty, the 21-year-old Scottish youth international, who had an impressive run under former boss Graeme Murty since completing a summer switch from Hamilton Academical and is now set for a season-long loan move to Sunderland, who are now competing in English League One upon back to back relegations.
The appointment of Jack Ross as the new Black Cats boss has been a sensible move from the club’s management and the Scotsman, who earned St Mirren a Premiership promotion last season, has accepted the challenge of scripting a revival at Stadium of Light. He has been using his influence and contacts in Scottish football to rebuild the squad and is ready to land the youngster on a season-long loan deal to strengthen in the middle of the park.
Ross has already roped in former Hibernian midfielder Dylan McGeouch on a Bosman transfer and although targeted John McGinn to reunite with McGeouch in central midfield, Celtic’s interest in the Hibs star has forced him to switch his sights elsewhere.
Docherty is viewed as a project player at Ibrox and Gerrard too will prefer him having senior minutes to gain experience. The gaffer seems to be keen on injecting a high-pressing attacking football and is content with the options he has in the center of the pitch.
He is probably more annoyed with the lack of conversion high up the pitch and is unlikely to field more than two central midfielders while lining up the Gers. This will further narrow down Docherty’s hope of immediate first-team football under Gerrard but a loan move to Sunderland will indeed help him mature as a player under an esteemed manager.