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Mendes passes fitness test...


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PEDRO MENDES has proved his fitness to be ready for Sunday's vital Hearts clash but it looks like Sasa Papac will miss out.

The other good news is that, as reported yesterday, Kyle Lafferty is back in the squad while Lee McCulloch is also available again.

Mendes trained with the squad this morning at Murray Park and Smith said: "Pedro, Kyle and Lee are all back with us and they are in the squad for Sunday.

"Mendes took a nasty knock last week on the top of the knee but it was just bruising and there was no ligament damage. We will check that there is no reaction but we don't expect there will be and we expect him to be OK.

"Papac is a doubt, however, and of course we have Madjid Bougherra suspended so with Kirk Broadfoot still injured we are a bit stretched at the back.

"We will miss Bougherra because has been playing very well but the lads who have come in before have done very well. The last time we played Hearts, for example, we had Lee McCulloch and Christian Dailly made up our central defensive partnership so hopefully we won't miss him that much."

He has options for the centre back role with Dailly, McCulloch or perhaps Andy Webster coming in for what would be his first top team game of the season.

Smith confirmed today that and could feature. He said: "Andy will be involved in Sunday's squad.

"Obviously his career here has not gone the way he would have wanted it to go and that's down mainly to injury. He has missed most of my time here. He has been fit for the past few months but it takes time to get back into the squad."

Papac suffered an ankle gash against St Mirrren on April 5 and it could be that Stevie Smith, who has been playing in midfield, moves back to play in his normal left back slot.

DaMarcus Beasley was back in training today but Smith will wait before making a decision on his inclusion. The American was hurt in the same St Mirren game as Papac, suffering rib damage.

http://www.rangers.premiumtv.co.uk/page/Ne...1644953,00.html

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What I'm taking from that is - McCulloch will start at CB alongside Weir. Not ideal imo.

It's indicating Webster will start too me, but we'll see on Sunday.

Can't see it tbh. I think Webster will be on the bench though I wouldn't mind him starting.

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did we not draw with hearts the last time Bougerra was out.???? and daily and Mculloch were also playing. and andy webster well that one is the biggets joke of the season.

Severely harsh criticism of Andy Webster on here, you'd think he'd played for the Tims or something <cr>

The guy has had horrendous bad luck with injures since arriving at the club, were struggling for a CB on Sunday he's fit it makes sense to play him.

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What I'm taking from that is - McCulloch will start at CB alongside Weir. Not ideal imo.

It's indicating Webster will start too me, but we'll see on Sunday.

Think your title thread is a bit misleading, Walter says he will be involved in the squad, not that he will start!

He said: "Andy will be involved in Sunday's squad.
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What I'm taking from that is - McCulloch will start at CB alongside Weir. Not ideal imo.

It's indicating Webster will start too me, but we'll see on Sunday.

Think your title thread is a bit misleading, Walter says he will be involved in the squad, not that he will start!

He said: "Andy will be involved in Sunday's squad.

Never said he would start... i said he would be involved like Walter said (tu)

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What I'm taking from that is - McCulloch will start at CB alongside Weir. Not ideal imo.

It's indicating Webster will start too me, but we'll see on Sunday.

Think your title thread is a bit misleading, Walter says he will be involved in the squad, not that he will start!

He said: "Andy will be involved in Sunday's squad.

Never said he would start... i said he would be involved like Walter said (tu)

Like I said, it's misleading :D depends on how you read it. :P

Agree with you though, he has been unfairly criticised when due to injuries he hasn't really ever had a chance at Rangers, Smith brought in Weir, Cuellar and Bougherra and we don't really have any complaints about them so who says that if Webster is injury free he won't be able to do a job for us.

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What I'm taking from that is - McCulloch will start at CB alongside Weir. Not ideal imo.

It's indicating Webster will start too me, but we'll see on Sunday.

Think your title thread is a bit misleading, Walter says he will be involved in the squad, not that he will start!

He said: "Andy will be involved in Sunday's squad.

Never said he would start... i said he would be involved like Walter said (tu)

Like I said, it's misleading :D depends on how you read it. :P

Agree with you though, he has been unfairly criticised when due to injuries he hasn't really ever had a chance at Rangers, Smith brought in Weir, Cuellar and Bougherra and we don't really have any complaints about them so who says that if Webster is injury free he won't be able to do a job for us.

Exactly the way some are carrying on is crazy, if Webster starts and it's still a big "IF" he wont let us down.

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Webster must partner Wir at centre half on Sunday.

No other option is viable to me.

Dailly is a walking time bomb. An absolute disaster of a player and dont forget the last time we gave away a comfortable two goal lead to Hearts in under 5 minutes, both goals coming through the centre. Any time he plays, we look weaker.

McCulloch - see Dailly. Not quite as bad as Dailly, but has not been good enough at any position he has attempted to play for us. A couple of good games here and there are no make-up for a fee of over £2M and £20K+ pw wages to go with it.

The only other option we have is young Wilson, but I feel this game is too big to throw him in without any first team experience. He should have been blooded in at the St Mirren game when we played McCulloch at CH, then he would be ready for Sunday.

Webster is a good experienced professional. A natural cente half, he has been getting match fit in the stiffs. Not ideal, but with Weir as captain and Bougherra our best defender it has been hard to get a chance in the first team.

I would be most comfortable on Sunday if Webster starts out of all our options.

With Papac apparantly struggling, this boosts Webster's chances of playing as Dailly will continue at RB, despite a horrendous performance last week, so it looks a straight fight between our failed left-midfilder/centre forward/defensive midfielder/centre midfielder/sweeper/centre-half McCulloch, and Webster.

I would love to hear a case for playing McCulloch at centre back, because I certainly cant think of one.

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PEDRO MENDES has proved his fitness to be ready for Sunday's vital Hearts clash but it looks like Sasa Papac will miss out.

The other good news is that, as reported yesterday, Kyle Lafferty is back in the squad while Lee McCulloch is also available again.

Mendes trained with the squad this morning at Murray Park and Smith said: "Pedro, Kyle and Lee are all back with us and they are in the squad for Sunday.

"Mendes took a nasty knock last week on the top of the knee but it was just bruising and there was no ligament damage. We will check that there is no reaction but we don't expect there will be and we expect him to be OK.

"Papac is a doubt, however, and of course we have Madjid Bougherra suspended so with Kirk Broadfoot still injured we are a bit stretched at the back.

"We will miss Bougherra because has been playing very well but the lads who have come in before have done very well. The last time we played Hearts, for example, we had Lee McCulloch and Christian Dailly made up our central defensive partnership so hopefully we won't miss him that much."

He has options for the centre back role with Dailly, McCulloch or perhaps Andy Webster coming in for what would be his first top team game of the season.

Smith confirmed today that and could feature. He said: "Andy will be involved in Sunday's squad.

"Obviously his career here has not gone the way he would have wanted it to go and that's down mainly to injury. He has missed most of my time here. He has been fit for the past few months but it takes time to get back into the squad."

Papac suffered an ankle gash against St Mirrren on April 5 and it could be that Stevie Smith, who has been playing in midfield, moves back to play in his normal left back slot.

DaMarcus Beasley was back in training today but Smith will wait before making a decision on his inclusion. The American was hurt in the same St Mirren game as Papac, suffering rib damage.

http://www.rangers.premiumtv.co.uk/page/Ne...1644953,00.html

I'm sure people will take what they want from this article, but nowhere in it does Walter even give a hint as to who will start in Bougherras' place. We'll just have to wait and see.

I'd prefer to see Dailly or Webster at CB, but if it's McCulloch as some think, then good luck to the guy.

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I agree, that it would make the most sense to play Webster alongside Weir, but I'm pretty sure Smith will opt for McCulloch or Daily. We'll have to wait and see what he does and whether it works out.

Obviously the main arguments against Webster are:

- No match fitness

- Hasn't developed any type of partnerships/understanding with any players since coming to Gers (cos he hasn't played!!)

I would be leaning towards playing him though - Daily looked terrible last week(and all season) and McCulloch, despite "being able" to play CB, is not a CB. Plus, either of those two alongside Weir would be such a sluggish partnership.

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