Rangers head to Hampden next weekend to face Celtic in the second Old Firm derby of the season and Mark Warburton faces something of a selection dilemma before he takes his side to the National Stadium. Does he stick with Matt Gilks, who has impressed in his appearances in the Betfred Cup this season, or does he let Wes Foderingham carry on between the sticks and look to secure a third consecutive clean sheet?
Last season, Foderingham played every minute of every game as Cammy Bell and Maciej Gostomski failed to unseat the ex-Swindon shot-stopper however, this season, Warburton has been able to bring in a more-than-capable deputy in Gilks; who had previously been ba
ck-up to England squad man Tom Heaton at Burnley.
Despite alternating between the two keeper’s in the group games of the Betfred Cup, Foderingham has started every league game so far, while Gilks has had to make do with starts against Annan, East Stirling, Peterhead and Queen of the South. The ex-Burnley keeper has impressed in those four starts though (he’s yet to concede a goal) and will be hoping to extend that run should he be given the nod on Sunday.
At 34, Gilks isn’t going to be a long-term challenger to Foderingham, that’ll be Liam Kelly or Robby McCrorie most likely, but based on performances so far this season the added competition has helped push Foderingham to improve and should only serve us well in the future. Should he start against Celtic it will, undoubtedly, be the biggest game he had played in but he’s shown he’s more than capable to be trusted.
After a handful of high-profile blunders last season, some expected Foderingham to be replaced over the summer but Warburton has kept faith in the keeper and has been rewarded this season with improved performances. Despite conceding five last time he faced Celtic, Foderingham has bounced back with a string of clean sheets as Rangers look to get their title challenge back on track.
Sticking with Foderingham for the Old Firm clash would maintain some consistency in a Rangers backline which has changed on a near game-by-game basis this season and could, potentially, avoid any mistakes between a defence and goalkeeper who have, somewhat unfairly, come in for a bit of criticism so far. A solid performance (and maybe even a clean sheet) would go a long way to easing some of that.
So, who do you think should start on Sunday? Let us know in our poll below.