Is David Bates' Rangers breakthrough bad news for Fulham-linked Rob Kiernan?

New Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha in the stands

Rangers' Rob Kiernan was linked with Fulham in January - and his future may be even more uncertain with David Bates starring in his absence.

Rangers' Rob Kiernan in action with Celtic's Moussa Dembele

While 18-year-old left-back Myles Beerman may be the apple of Rangers’ fans eyes after bursting onto the scene with a string of fine performances in recent weeks, the contribution of his fellow newcomer should not be overlooked.

Since David Bates made his Rangers’ bow in the goalless draw with Kilmarnock at the start of the month, Pedro Caixinha’s side have not conceded a single goal. The 20-year-old, who moved to Rangers on a permanent deal from Raith Rovers in January, has been one of the main beneficiaries of Caixinha’s arrival.

After all, he was barely given a sniff under previous manager Mark Warburton. And despite appearing a little jittery on occasions, his desire to play out from the back resulting in a few scares, Bates is now one of the first names on the team-sheet.

And this could have major repercussions for one Rob Kiernan. The 26-year-old has been criticised in some quarters following a number of shaky defensive performances this season and, after being kept on the sidelines in recent weeks by a calf injury, could return to find that his place in the starting XI has been nabbed by young Bates.

Rangers' Rob Kiernan (L) in action with Hibernian's David Gray (R)

The Daily Mail claimed in January that Fulham were interested in making a £2 million move for Kiernan who, at the time, was an undisputed starter under Mark Warburton. And with Chelsea loanee Tomas Kalas seemingly unlikely to remain at Craven Cottage beyond the end of the season, Fulham could still be in the market for a new defender in the summer.

And, thanks to Bates’ impressive breakthrough, Rangers may be more inclined to consider a sale.

Rangers' Rob Kiernan (R) in action with St Johnstone's Michael O’Halloran

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