Darcheville injury worries Smith for Lyons showdown

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The Independent Online

The Rangers striker Jean-Claude Darcheville is a serious doubt for the crucial Champions League match against Lyons after tests revealed that he has a hamstring tear.

Darcheville limped off with the problem during Saturday's 2-0 win over Kilmarnock at Ibrox. A scan has shown a slight tear in his muscle, but the Rangers coaching staff are hopeful he can face the French champions in Group E at Ibrox next Wednesday.

The Gers need a point against Alain Perrin's side to progress to the last 16, although a Lyons victory would send the French side through. Rangers first-team coach, Kenny McDowall, said in a statement on the Rangers website: "There is a tear in Jean-Claude's hamstring, but we are hopeful that the injury will clear up. We have a bit of time to work on him but you can never be certain with this type of injury."

On Monday Rangers succeeded in their plea to have Sunday's Premier League fixture against Gretna postponed to avoid any more injuries before they face Lyons. The striker Nacho Novo is already out with a shoulder problem while DaMarcus Beasley faces a lengthy lay-off with knee ligament trouble.

Darcheville has been the first choice of the manager, Walter Smith, for the lone striker role that he has employed in each Champions League group game. The injury is the latest to hit the Frenchman since he arrived at Ibrox on a free transfer from Bordeaux in the summer. The 32-year-old first suffered an Achilles injury and then a hamstring problem meant he missed the first match against Lyons at the Stade Gerland on 2 October.

Daniel Cousin had an important part in the 3-0 win over the French champions, scoring once and setting up another. But Darcheville's pace and power make him the first choice up front and Smith wants him to be fit.

Lyons have complained that the Gretna postponement means Rangers have been handed an advantage. The Lyons general manager, Marino Faccioli, insists that the French club would not have been afforded such a luxury as a free weekend by their league bosses. He said: "It's a big advantage to Rangers because their players will be fresher."

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