Clark can be key man as Rangers search for cup double, says Daly

JON DALY is confident Rangers can rack up a memorable cup double next month thanks to the return to form of strike partner Nicky Clark.

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Strikers Jon Daly and Nicky Clark could be key players for Rangers in their search for more silverware in the coming months
Strikers Jon Daly and Nicky Clark could be key players for Rangers in their search for more silverware in the coming months

Gers forwards Andy Little and David Templeton both look unlikely to play in the Ramsdens Cup final and the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final.

And manager Ally McCoist is sweating on the availability of central midfield duo Ian Black and Nicky Law for the cup ties with Raith Rovers and Dundee United.

With talented youngster Lewis Macleod also a long-term absentee due to a viral condition, it is a worrying situation for the Ibrox club to be in.

Indeed, they could be without half of their first choice outfield players for the games at Easter Road on Sunday week and Ibrox the following Saturday.

Yet, there are players who are coming back after long spells out of action injured - including Kyle Hutton who is set to feature once more against Arbroath at Gayfield on Saturday.

And predator Clark, who came off the bench to net the winner in the narrow 1-0 win over Brechin City at Glebe Park on Sunday, is also back in business.

The 22-year-old spent over three months out after injuring his foot in the stormy SPFL League One match with Airdrie at the Excelsior Stadium in January.

But the former Queen of the South man has played in four matches against Airdrie, Dunfermline, Albion Rovers and Brechin City in the last fortnight.

And top scorer Daly, who increased his personal haul for the 2013/14 campaign with a goal in the replay against Rovers, believes he can be a key man for the Gers.

Clark netted for his former club in a thrilling Challenge Cup final victory over Partick Thistle last year to help them complete a league and cup double.

Daly believes that experience, along with his all-round football abilities, will be helpful to his current club in their forthcoming cup matches.

He said: "Nicky has come back into the team at a very good time. We are missing a few lads through injury at the moment so it has been good to get him back.

"He is a very clever player and I have always enjoyed playing alongside him. We are different kinds of players and I like to think that we complement each other.

"He has done well at getting onto my headers and my flick-ons this season. I think that we have done well together whenever we have played up front.

"He is just a young lad, but he has played a lot of first- team football and scored a lot of goals. I don't think the cup games we have coming up will faze him whatsoever.

"We have a large squad at Rangers and the reason why is to cope with the sort of situation that we have at the moment. I am sure Nicky will play a big role for us."

DALY has, at the grand old age of 31, vast experience himself and that has been beneficial for Rangers, both on and off the park, during this season.

The big Irishman is, too, no stranger to cup success either having helped former club Dundee United defeat Ross County in the Scottish Cup final back in 2010.

He admitted he is greatly looking forward to squaring up to the high-flying SPFL Premiership club in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Ibrox next month.

But his top priority is helping McCoist's men to maintain their incredible unbeaten run in the third tier against Arbroath through in Angus this weekend.

The striker believes that picking up another three points in the league will be the perfect preparation for the cup double-header they have coming up.

He said: "It will be fantastic for me to play Dundee United in the cup. I had six-and-a-half great years there.

"But before that we have to focus on these games that we have coming up. Once we get through them we can look forward to it.

"I am sure I will speak to a few of my old United team-mates before the game.

"It will be quite strange playing against them. I don't really know how I will feel until it comes about.

"But we have to try and keep our unbeaten record in the league going.

"We have had some tough games in this division and we are expecting nothing less this weekend.

"We were obviously delighted to win the league and to secure promotion as early as we did as that was our main target at the start of the season.

"To do it with eight games remaining was amazing. But we can't think about that achievement too much as we have still got a lot of important games coming up.

"We need to focus on doing well in them too. We have got the Ramsdens Cup final and the Scottish Cup semi-final as well.

"We have got some big games to play in and a lot to look forward to."

Football

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