Not every single transfer is going to send your nearest rivals scurrying behind the sofa. For a long, hard season, a squad needs to be built and that includes recruiting players to fill in the reserve positions. Ideally, you’d want these positions to be filled by products from the youth team. They’re cheaper and the fans develop an affinity with them before they’ve even played. But Rangers aren’t blessed with much depth at full back and therefore it made perfect sense to go out and grab ex-Kilmarnock defender Lee Hodson.
The Northern Irish international signed for Killie in February last season and immediately went about impressing the Rugby Park faithful. It’s been years since the Ayrshire men have had a really good right back and they were delighted to have someone who could cover all the basics they’d been lacking at the position. He was comfortable going forward, strong in the challenge and had great positioning, attributes he soon showed on the other side of the defence when left back became a more pressing concern. When it was all said and done, he’d proven himself to be a vital short-term acquisition as Kilmarnock avoided the drop.
Rangers were a little fortunate last season that injury didn’t strike down either of Lee Wallace or James Tavernier. The pair were important to the manner in which Mark Warburton set up his team and luckily for the club the pair managed to play in every single game. No player is immune to injury or suspension, however, and signing Hodson provides a seasoned back up for both positions while still keeping the squad trim, which is what Warburton insists he prefers.
Hodson is not as destructive to the opposition as either Wallace or Tavernier, but the manner in which Warburton is building the squad this season, going for older, less athletic players like Clint Hill, Joey Barton and Niko Kranjcar, suggests the Rangers boss is going to alter his system anyway. Besides, going by his time at Kilmarnock, he’s a more accomplished defender than the other two, which will give Warburton options when Rangers face a tougher breed of adversary in the top flight.