Clark can't wait to join forces with Gers' new special ops

NICKY Clark today welcomed the prospect of increased competition for places in Rangers' attack - even though it could limit his own chances.

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Nicky Clark is looking ahead  with confidence to the Boxing Day game
Nicky Clark is looking ahead with confidence to the Boxing Day game

Clark has endured a tough start to his career at Ibrox and it is only in recent weeks that he has managed to hold down a regular spot in the first team.

The 22-year-old, who netted over 40 goals last season as Queen of the South won a Second Division and Challenge Cup double, has not been a prolific scorer either.

Indeed, until the SPFL League One game against Forfar Athletic at Ibrox at the start of this month he had been on target on just three occasions.

That, though, all changed that night against Forfar, a side his team had struggled against this season, when he netted four times in an emphatic 6-1 triumph.

The forward is looking ahead with confidence, and to the Boxing Day match with Stranraer, now that he has rediscovered his touch in front of goal.

And the possibility of other players coming in to the fray in his position at the Glasgow club does not faze him. In fact, he relishes the challenge.

Rangers manager Ally McCoist has spoken of his desire to strengthen his squad with a new striker during the January transfer window.

McCoist has just has two recognised front men - Clark and top scorer Jon Daly - at his ­disposal now, due to his injury situation.

Andy Little, who was second top scorer behind Lee McCulloch during the 2012/13 campaign, is out after breaking his cheekbone and jaw last month.

Having held several meetings with new chief executive Graham Wallace, he is hoping to be able to add to his pool.

Yet Clark feels that having more players in his position at the club will simply help him to attain high standards.

He said: "The more players we can get back and available for selection the better as far as I am concerned.

"We have got a few injuries and the more players the gaffer has to choose the better it is for the team. It is a long hard season and everybody will be ­involved at some stage. It will be very hard for players to take part in every game that we play, both in the league and in the cup, in every competition.

"So it is good for the manager to have options. You need to have competition for places to keep you on your toes. If you don't have that then there is a possibility you can get complacent and slack.

"If there is competition for places, then you know that if you aren't doing what you are in the team to do - in my case to score goals - then there is somebody else there to take your position."

Clark has been pleased to see Dean Shiels recover from his medial ligament injury and return to first-team action at long last.

The Northern Ireland international has been dogged by fitness problems since joining Rangers at the start of last season.

But the 28-year-old attacking midfielder made his comeback when he came on as a substitute late on in the game against Forfar and is now available for selection.

HIS team-mate has been impressed with Shiels' ability in training at Murray Park and anticipates him playing an important role in the side between now and the end of the season.

He said: "It has been great to see Dean Shiels get over his injury problems and come into the squad again.

"He is a great player and it is great to have him back. He gets in dangerous areas and can see a pass. He also has an eye for goal and weighs in with a few.

"I am sure he will be involved increasingly between now and the end of the season. It is good to have another quality player who the manager can utilise."

Clark, whose father Sandy played for Rangers in the 1980s, is certainly one of those.

He is looking forward to showing supporters what he is capable of in the second half of the season.

McCoist's team have won all 15 of their games in the third tier and have a chance to create a bit of history by recording a "perfect season".

The young striker would love to keep his side's record-breaking 20-game winning run going and be a part of that memorable achievement.

He said: "It was obviously good to score four goals in the game against Forfar.

"I have been working hard in training and in matches and I was pleased that it finally came good.

"I was disappointed not to follow up the four goals I scored against Forfar by scoring against Ayr United. But I am definitely more confident when I take to the field now.

"I am just going to take it one game at a time. I can't look too far ahead.

"I think we must treat every team we play with respect in every competition we are involved in.

"I am enjoying being a player at Rangers and will be looking to finish off the season strongly and help the club win some trophies."


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