Football: Rangers can seek stand-in keeper

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The Independent Online
RANGERS WERE last night given permission from Uefa, football's European governing body, to seek for an emergency goalkeeper before Thursday's Uefa Cup tie against Borussia Dortmund at Ibrox.

Rangers, without the injured first-choice Stefan Klos and his immediate deputy Lionel Charbonnier, were left without a registered goalkeeper for the third-round first-leg match as Antti Niemi is tied to a loan deal at Charlton.

Now, after representations to Uefa, Rangers have been told they have until before kick-off to sign another goalkeeper for the game, with their manager, Dick Advocaat, now likely to recruit an established player on a short-term basis.

The Rangers director-secretary, Campbell Ogilvie, said: "An emergency loan deal is the most probable outcome, but it's over to Dick Advocaat now. I don't know if he has any specific choices in mind already."

Earlier yesterday Rangers had been informed by Uefa that they must wait until tomorrow before discovering whether they could recall Niemi from Charlton to solve their crisis.

Uefa rules regarding cross-border loan deals stipulate any arrangement must be for a minimum of three months, but the Ibrox club had applied for special dispensation for Niemi.

Charlton did not involve the Finnish international in their first-team squad for Saturday's 1-0 defeat by Manchester City.

Ogilvie said: "We asked Uefa the position regarding Antti and gave them all the relevant details. Now they will tell us whether or not we can bring him back."

If Advocaat finds a replacement the need for Niemi would be less vital, but he could yet feature on the substitutes' bench for Dortmund's visit. Rangers' feared being forced to field Mark Brown, an 18-year-old who has played only two first-team games.

There is also a slim chance of Klos playing against his former club with a special glove protecting the hairline fracture of a wrist.

Rivaldo, who was hoping to return after a thigh injury, will miss Barcelona's Champions' League game away to Hertha Berlin tonight.

"This is sad news for him and for the team as well, but it would have been too much of a risk to bring him," said the Barcelona coach, Louis van Gaal.

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