Rangers: Mark Warburton keen to keep tapping English market

Rangers manager Mark Warburton casts his eye over training ahead of Scottish cup clash at home to Cowdenbeath. Picture: SNS
Rangers manager Mark Warburton casts his eye over training ahead of Scottish cup clash at home to Cowdenbeath. Picture: SNS
Have your say

Rangers boss Mark Warburton insists he will continue to scour the depths of the English league for fresh talent.

The former Brentford manager has put his knowledge of the Football League to good use in recent days after making Doncaster winger Harry Forrester his first January capture.

There’s always risk. There is as much risk with a £50million player as there is with a £5,000 player.

Mark Warburton

Accrington pair Josh Windass and Matt Crooks will also report for duty in the summer after signing pre-contracts.

But those deals have not excited everyone, with some Gers fans unimpressed with their arrivals from Sky Bet Leagues One and Two.

READ MORE - Rangers reject fans group’s £500,000 loan offer

Warburton, though, insists there are gems to be found south of the border and revealed he came close to landing Leicester’s record-breaking frontman Jamie Vardy from Fleetwood while he was the Bees director of football.

He also picked out Andre Gray for special mention after plucking the striker from Luton for £500,000 before he was later sold to Burnley in a £9million deal last summer.

Responding to his critics, he said: “My answer to that would be to ask: ‘How much would Andre Gray cost right now?’

“He came from Luton in the Conference to Brentford in the Championship for £500,000. That was a huge jump but he dealt with it and developed exceptionally well. I don’t know what his value is now but I imagine it’s at least £12million.

“He’s now working with a very talented manager in Sean Dyche at Burnley but don’t forget 18 months ago where he was.

“Jamie Vardy was offered to me when he was at Fleetwood but we couldn’t afford him. He went for £1million which was a lot of money. He was a talent but now I look back and there’s the occasional swear word when I think about missing out on him.

“(Identifying these players) is what we get paid for. That’s why I hire experts like (chief scout) Frank McParland. Our job is to spot players who we think can develop quickly and move on to the next level.

“There’s always risk. There is as much risk with a £50million player as there is with a £5,000 player. It’s about your recruitment, your due diligence, your knowledge and your eye.

“But you have to live and die by your decision. If you get seven out of 10 right you’re in a good place.”

READ MORE - SPFL to discuss sectarian singing at Rangers v Hibs match

Gers’ move for Windass and Crooks upset Stanley owner Andy Holt.

He criticised Warburton for failing to call his manager John Coleman before making their swoop. He also hit out at the FIFA rules which allow Scottish clubs to pay a smaller compensation fee for out-of-contract players than clubs in England.

But Warburton tried to play down the row, saying: “I think the frustration rightly or wrongly is more with the system than with the way we have conducted our business. Rangers have done everything by the process and, I hope, professionally.”

As well as Forrester, Rangers have also snapped up former Lech Poznan goalkeeper Maciej Gostomski this week.

However, Warburton admits he is still looking to add “one or two” more experienced players to his squad but refused to speculate on the club’s chances of landing Brentford’s holding midfielder Toumani Diagouraga after reports Gers had made an unsuccessful bid for the 28-year-old.

READ MORE - Darren O’Dea has no regrets over Rangers’ remarks

Both of this week’s arrivals are available for selection ahead of Sunday’s William Hill Scottish Cup clash with Cowdenbeath at Ibrox and Warburton admitted he was particularity looking forward to seeing how Forrester fits in.

The Englishman - who also confirmed Gers are “almost there” with new deals for Barry McKay, Andy Halliday and Jason Holt - claimed the 25-year-old had made a mistake quitting Brentford for Doncaster while he was in charge at Griffin Park.

“I don’t mean that in a derogatory way but I just think you’ve got to look at your decision-making process,” he said. “He was at Brentford and doing very well. He was offered a very good contract but Harry chose to move elsewhere. And that’s fine.

“But I know Brentford would have been a good place for Harry and I was disappointed to see him go but now he has the opportunity to come here and impress. I’m looking forward to see how he gets on here.”

Keep up to date with all our sport news on The Scotsman’s Sport page on Facebook