STV Sport sponsored by Papa Johns

Van Bronckhorst expected to make changes as Rangers face Lyon

The Rangers boss sees the Europa League match as an opportunity to rotate the squad.

Van Bronckhorst expected to make changes as Rangers face Lyon SNS Group
Van Bronckhorst is hopeful some Rangers fans will be there to cheer the team on.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst has suggested he will make changes to his Rangers side for the Europa League match against Lyon and will have an opportunity to assess his team in a tough environment.

Rangers are already assured of a second place finish in their group, and progress to the next round, with Lyon having already sealed first place.

With little at stake, both sides can afford to experiment and though Van Bronckhorst says he wants his side to be competitive, he has the chance to make some adjustments to the core side that’s won all of his matches in charge so far.

He said: “No matter what, we’ll still be second in the group, but I think it’s still a good game for us against a good opponent.

“We can have one more game against an excellent side and for me in every game we want to reach our level.

“It’s good for me to see where the players stand, and where we stand as a team.

“Apart from the fact that we can’t go first in the group, the experience we have in this group is very good for our development.”

Asked about his selection for Thursday evening’s game, the Dutchman made it clear that he would have the team’s busy schedule in mind, as well as the needs of those on the fringes.

“Leon Balogun can’t travel this afternoon,” he said. “We still have training left and so far we have everyone else available. We just need to wait until after training so I can announce my squad.

“In the game tomorrow, we have got to watch closely the physical state of the players.

“It’s also a game where I can change some positions and give other player some minutes who need that.”

Rangers have expressed their unhappiness at repeated u-turns by the French authorities that have upset the travel plans of the club’s support but the manager is hopeful that some will be in France to give his team their backing. He said he knew the importance and impact of the away support.

“My first experience of the Rangers fans was back in 1998 when we had the first game away against Shelbourne,” he said. “The huge support we had, for me, was something different.

“I know how the fans are. They want to travel with the team and support us. It’s very important for us that we have our fans behind us every game.

“So I can imagine it’s not easy for the fans to be left in the dark for the last couple of days, because you want to know what’s happening.

“So one day they can travel, one day they have to stay, the same day later in the day they can travel.

It’s not easy but I hugely respect their presence in the stadium, so hopefully the fans who wanted to go to Lyon can still go and give us the support we need and also appreciate.”

The match will also give him the opportunity for a reunion with Lyon boss Peter Bosz, who has been a regular presence in Van Bronckhorst’s career.

“When I was a young player coming from the academy at Feyenoord, Peter Bosz was the captain of the team,” the Dutchman explained. “He really welcomed me into the squad and was very helpful.

“After that, he was the technical director there when I came back in 2007 after my time at Barcelona, so I had a lot of conversations with him about the future of Feyenoord and my role in that.

“And of course being a head coach now, we played against each other when he was with Heracles, Vitesse and even with Ajax. I really enjoyed our friendship over the years.”