EXCLUSIVE: Andy Little backs Fran Sandaza to get over Rangers goal drought

Andy Little has told Francisco Sandaza to keep his head up as the Spaniard continues to struggle to hit the goals trail.

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Francisco Sandaza has only scored one goal for Rangers but has been a creative force
Francisco Sandaza has only scored one goal for Rangers but has been a creative force

Little bagged a hat-trick in the weekend 4-2 win over Berwick Rangers, a clinical display that was in sharp contrast to Sandaza who cut a frustrated figure in front of goal.

However, the striker put in probably his most influential performance in a Rangers jersey and his creativity set up two goals.

The player has scored just one goal for Ally McCoist's side since his arrival at the club – a strike that came away back in August. However, Little has backed Sandaza to come up trumps for Rangers.

"It is one of those ones where if he scores one then I think he will probably relax and start banging them in," said Little.

"I think it is on his mind that he isn't scoring but at the same time I thought he was outstanding for us against Berwick at the weekend. He was a thorn in their side for the whole game and with a wee bit of luck he would have had his name on the scoresheet a couple of times.

"The goals will come from him, I'm sure of it. We all play on confidence and once he gets a few in the bag he will stop thinking about it so much and just settle into his own game."

Meanwhile, Little himself has insisted that he would swap his own goals for the accolade of being regarded as a mainstay in McCoist' side.

The Northern Ireland international has netted 16 goals in all competitions this term but is more concerned about cementing his status with the team.

"I don't have any targets in terms of goals and I didn't start the season off by saying to myself that I wanted to score X amount," he said.

"But I did give myself the target of being in the team every week because that is something that has always eluded me in my Gers career.

"I'm happy that I'm on course to do that but I just want to stay in the team and play as many games as I possibly can this season."

Rangers' win at the weekend gives them a whopping 19-point cushion at the top of the Irn-Bru Third Division, albeit that Queen's Park have a couple of games in hand.

However, while the road to the title would appear to be pretty straightforward, Little admits that the demands of the lower league took some time to adapt to, mentally as well as physically.

"I think you don't realise at first what it entails," he said. "We always knew that it was going to be tough but it took a while to adjust to it.

"Some of these teams might never come up against us again after this season so it is a big game for them to go out and compete against us.

"I think we have got our heads around it now but it has been difficult. You need to have the right attitude in every game and make sure that you are prepared for everything that comes with playing in the lower leagues."

And while Little himself wouldn't mind the chance to play in a more central forward role, he has maintained that he won't have any quibbles so long as he continues to feature for McCoist's side.

There was a time when it looked as though he would consider playing in a defensive role, but he has since focused his game on playing as an attacker and would eventually like to play through the middle rather than out wide as he currently is.

He said: "I would like the opportunity to play up front as an out-and-out striker because that is where I have tried to improve my game and I do feel as though I have goals in me," he said.

"But right now I would play anywhere. From a personal point of view this season was always going to be about making myself a key player in the team, while on a professional level it was about making sure that as a team we went out and did the business in the Third Division.

"So far I am relatively satisfied on both fronts, but there is still a long way to go.

"I am pleased with the amount of games I've played and it's pleasing to have chipped in with the goals.

"I've netted 16 and I feel as though I'm benefiting from having had the chance to play every other week. There is also a lot of confidence in the team as a whole just now and I think that is reflected in just where we are in the league table."


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