Durrant looking forward to leading his young charges to The Showgrounds

Ian Durrant is looking forward to Friday night's game against Coleraine. PICTURE: Robert Perry
Ian Durrant is looking forward to Friday night's game against Coleraine. PICTURE: Robert Perry

Rangers coach Ian Durrant says his side are looking forward to their trip to Northern Ireland to take on Coleraine and Ballymena United.

The Gers legend belives it will provide a stern test for his young charges.

“We are all excited about travelling to Northern Ireland to play the two games,” said Durrant.

“I enjoyed my trip earlier this summer to finalise arrangements for the fixtures and was overwhelmed by the welcome and hospitality I received.

“I have no doubt these matches will provide good tests for our under-20 players, they will certainly be important to our preparations for the campaign ahead.

“Our boys will play games against Dumbarton, Tynecastle FC and Arbroath at Murray Park before our trip to Northern Ireland so we should have a good level of fitness and match sharpness.

“On behalf of everyone at Rangers Football Club I would like to congratulate him on the success he has achieved with United throughout his career and wish him well for the future.

“We will have a young squad in Northern Ireland – including the seven players who featured regularly at under 20 level last season and also have a number of talented youngsters making the step up from our U17 group.

“Craig Halkett, Darren Ramsay, David Brownlie, Josh Jeffries, Lewis White and Dylan Dykes are all with us for another year and should make the trip.

“Summer recruits Jordan Gibson and Tom Lang are also set to feature.

“I wish Coleraine FC and Ballymena United every success for Season 2015/16 and beyond and we look forward to our visit.

“I am sure Rangers supporters in Northern Ireland will enjoy seeing a Rangers team in action once again.”

Head of Rangers’ Academy, Craig Mulholland, said the games will provide the players with a strong challenge aheqad of the new campaign.

“Playing in challenging matches is important for the young players in our Academy and a key part of the new culture we are creating here,” he said.

“The Coleraine and Ballymena games will certainly provide us with this test. 

“As the players leave age group football, it is important that they play against men, in front of crowds in order to experience new and different problems to which they need to find solutions. 

“It is for this reason that we have chosen to play first teams from these Northern Irish clubs during pre-season.

Given that some of our players may be as young as 16 or 17 these games will provide a different kind of challenge for them aiding their long term development which is our aim.