Silence as Rangers line up Le Guen as their new manager

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The Independent Football

Alex McLeish refused to be drawn on reports that Paul Le Guen has agreed to become his successor as the Rangers manager prepared for tonight's Champions' League decider against Villarreal.

French newspapers claimed yesterday morning that Le Guen had pledged himself to Rangers for the next two years. The former Lyon coach became the front-runner to replace McLeish when it was announced the Scot would be leaving Ibrox at the end of the season.

Le Guen has been mulling over his future after holding talks with the Rangers chairman, David Murray.

Villarreal achieved a 2-2 draw at Ibrox two weeks ago and it is the second leg of the last-16 tie here at the Madrigal Stadium that McLeish wants to concentrate on. Asked about Le Guen, McLeish said: "That's nothing to do with myself. I'm not concerned about that at all."

McLeish plans to take a short sabbatical from football this summer, though he is the bookies' favourite to replace Mick McCarthy at Sunderland. But he said: "I'm focused on this game with the rest of the players and that's what I will be doing between now and the end of the season."

Rangers will be without striker Dado Prso, who is suspended after his caution in the first leg against Villarreal, while Juan Pablo Sorin is the major doubt for Villarreal after missing the weekend win over Alavez with a calf strain.

Their Mexican international striker Guillermo Franco hit the winner at the weekend on his debut at the Madrigal, and that may have earned him a place in tonight's starting line-up.

Villarreal are unbeaten in the Champions' League this season and have kept a clean sheet in 13 of the 16 games they have played at home in Europe, conceding a mere four goals in total.

Rangers, on the other hand, have only managed to win three of their last 21 previous away games in the Champions' League and have never recorded a victory away to Spanish opposition in Europe.

Villarreal (probable): Viera; Javi Venta, Gonzalo, Alvarez, Arruabarrena, Font or Josico, Senna, Tacchinardi or Sorin, Riquelme, Forlan, Franco.

Rangers: Waterreus; Hutton, Kyrgiakos, Smith, Rodriguez, Ferguson, Hemdani, Burke; Buffel, Lovenkrands, Boyd.

Referee: A Hamer (Luxembourg).