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Rangers continue to strengthen as promotion beckons


Mark Warburton has further strengthened the Glasgow Rangers squad ahead of the club`s much anticipated return to the Scottish Premiership. Accrington Stanley duo Josh Windass and Matt Crooks have both signed pre-contract agreements with the Scottish giants and will move to Ibrox on four-year contracts at the end of this season. Currently leading the Championship by three points and looking in a strong position to finally seal promotion back into the top flight of Scottish football, the club are already looking at assembling a squad capable of making an immediate run at the Premiership title.

Windass has impressed in the Accrington first team for the past couple of seasons, scoring 11 goals from midfield this season, while the versatile Crooks has caught the eye in his first 12 months at the club following his move from Huddersfield. Having both turned down new contracts to stay with the League Two side, Rangers snapped the two youngsters up on long-term deals. While there is still a fair way to go between now and the end of the season, it`s clear the club have an eye on the long term, and the signings of Windass and Crooks hint at the type of player Warburton is targeting.

"Rangers Fans in the Queue" (CC BY-ND 2.0) by Tom Brogan

Priced at the time of writing as short as 1/6 with much of the Scottish football betting, Rangers have put themselves in an extremely strong position as we head into the second half of the season. After four seasons working their way up the Scottish league ladder, the Glasgow giants are now on the verge of re-joining the top flight, where they`ll be looking to re-establish themselves as one of the dominant forces in the game. While the club might not have been in the Premiership since 2011/12, Warburton will be under no illusion that the pressure will be on his shoulders from the very off for Rangers to challenge Celtic for the title.

Having relied on older players to get them out of the Scottish Third and Second Divisions, Warburton has placed a huge emphasis on assembling a squad of talented youngsters who have experienced league football since his arrival at Ibrox as manager, despite some questioning his transfer approach. Built on a strong defensive platform supplied by goalkeeper Wes Foderingham and James Tavernier in defence, the emergence of Jason Holt in midfield and the prolific goalscoring of Martyn Waghorn up top has seen Rangers cruise their way through to the start of 2016.

"Rangers v Burnley" (CC BY-SA 2.0) by Jim Easton

With Falkirk and Hibs just three points behind them, though, the 54-time Scottish champions cannot afford to take their foot off the pedal and Warburton may feel he needs to delve into the transfer window for players who can move to Ibrox straight away. While the first team at the moment picks itself, injury to one of the club`s main players could have a huge impact on Rangers` title aspirations this year. The January transfer window is now open and Warburton could well be tempted to cover any potential injuries before they happen.

Heading into 2016, though, the signs are looking promising for Rangers, and there could finally be some light at the end of the tunnel for the long-suffering fans.

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