After earning a credible 2-2 draw in Spain back in September, the Gers will attempt to keep their qualification hopes alive at Ibrox
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Rangers host unbeaten Villarreal on Thursday at Ibrox as they attempt to negotiate a path through Europa League Group G.
Steven Gerrard’s men lost their undefeated record earlier this month in a thrilling 4-3 loss against Spartak Moscow, during which they led three times, yet with just two points separating first to fourth, this is a game they will feel they need to win.
Villarreal, meanwhile, have tied three of their four matches to date, including a 2-2 draw against the Scottish side in Spain back in September.
|Game||Rangers vs Villarreal|
|Date||Thursday, November 29|
|Time||8pm GMT / 3pm ET|
In the United States (US), the game can be watched on Galavision and streamed live online via B/R Live.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game can be watched live on BT Sport 3 and BT Sport 4K UHD and livestreamed on BT Sport Live.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|BT Sport 3 and BT Sport 4K UHD||BT Sport Live|
|Goalkeepers||McGregor, Foderingham, McCrorie|
|Defenders||Tavernier, Goldson, Flanagan, Ross McCrorie, Katic, Bradley, Barisic, Worrall, McAuley|
|Midfielders||Dorrans, Jack, Ejaria, Halliday, Coulibaly, Kent, Arfield, Kelly, Grezda|
|Forwards||Candeias, Sadiq, Morelos, Lafferty, Middleton|
Long-term injury issues Lee Wallace, Jamie Murphy and Graham Dorrans are all still on the sidelines.
Borna Barisic could make a welcome return for this clash, while there are doubts over on-loan Liverpool winger Ryan Kent.
Potential Rangers XI: McGregor; Tavernier, McAuley, Goldson, Halliday; Jack, Arfield, Ejaria; Candeias, Morelos, Middleton.
|Goalkeepers||Sergio Asenjo, Fernandez, Barbosa|
|Defenders||Gaspar, Alvaro, Funes Mori, Victor Ruiz, Jaume Costa, Llambrich, Bonera, Layun|
|Midfielders||Caseres, Fornals, Trigueros, Pedraza, Fuego, Cazorla, Bruno Soriano, Raba, Chukweze, Lomotey|
|Forwards||Moreno, Bacca, Sansone, Ekambi|
Villarreal are sweating on the availability of several players prior to the trip to Glasgow, with Bruno Soriano and Manu Trigueros both struggling to prove their fitness in the midfield.
Javi Fuego is another concern in that area of the park, while Manuel Iturra is already ruled out.
Daniele Bonera is their final doubt.
Potential Villarreal XI: Moreno; Gaspar, Ruiz, Funes Mori, Costa; Caseres, Morlanes, Cazorla, Fornals; Moreno, Bacca.
Villarreal are priced at 11/10 by bet365 to leave Ibrox with maximum points. Rangers are 13/5 to end their opponents’ unbeaten record, while the draw is 11/4.
Click here to see all of bet 365’s offers for the game, including goalscoring markets, correct score predictions and more.
Rangers have defied the critics in the Europa League this season.
It was an achievement that Steven Gerrard’s men even reached the group stages as they embarked on a campaign of transition, yet they have proven themselves to be competitive in a testing pool against experienced European rivals.
Chairman Dave King admitted at the club’s AGM earlier this week: “We are ahead of where my realistic expectations would have been.”
Rangers, though, may live to regret their inability to see out victories in their two away matches to date. They led twice against the Spaniards before settling for a 2-2 draw, while a 4-3 loss against Spartak Moscow earlier this month, in which they three times led, has left them with their backs against the wall.
Gerrard’s record at Ibrox, though, is a formidable one. He has won 11 of the 14 matches he has overseen at the Glasgow venue and has yet to taste defeat.
Since that loss in Russia, the Gers have bounced back by beating Motherwell 7-1 and Livingston 3-0 at the venue.
Of course, Villarreal represent a step up in class but they have also made life complicated for themselves in the fight to qualify for the knockout stages.
They lie only 16th in La Liga and have one eye on preserving their top-flight status, while a series of draws means that they only have six points from four European matches, even if that is sufficient to top the group.
From their last 11 games, they have only two victories to their credit, though one of these arrived at the weekend when they stunned a very handy Real Betis side 2-1.
Their last away win, however, was back in September – a statistic they dearly want to change on Thursday.