Sunderland-linked James Tavernier eyes Rangers exit; opportunity at last for Lee Hodson?

Rangers fans are seen during the Scottish Cup Quarter final match between Rangers and Hamilton Academical at Ibrox Stadium on March 4, 2017 in Glasgow, Scotland.

Lee Hodson has made just 16 appearances in the Scottish Premiership for Rangers - but his main competition James Tavernier could be heading to Sunderland.

James Tavernier of Rangers celebrates with his teammates as Rangers beat Dumbarton 1-0 to clinch the Scottish Championship title match between Glasgow Rangers FC and Dumbarton FC at Ibrox...

James Tavernier has his critics but you can’t argue with the statistics. The rampaging right-back has scored four goals and set up another six in all competitions for Rangers this season.

Though this does not mean his future at Ibrox is secure. The Mail states that Rangers are open to offers for Tavernier in January as the 26-year-old has just 18 months remaining on his contract.

It is understood that he is also open to a return to England – and possibly to the North East with Sunderland leading the chase for the one-time Newcastle United youngster.

Scott Sinclair of Celtic is challenged by James Tavernier of Rangers during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Rangers FC and Celtic FC at Ibrox Stadium on September 23, 2017...

The report adds that new Black Cats boss Chris Coleman wants more attacking intent from his full-backs and Tavernier, who scored 15 goals and assisted 23 as recently as the 2015/16 season, fits the bill.

An excellent crosser with a penchant for a perfectly flighted free-kick, the Bradford-born number two would provide a far more effective threat in the opposition half than the likes of Billy Jones and Adam Matthews.

Rangers fans will undoubtedly be divided by his potential exit - for all those who laud his attacking abilities there are those who criticise his supposed defensive deficiencies. But if there’s one man at Ibrox who would be forgiven for toasting Tavernier’s departure, it is Lee Hodson.

Lee Hodson of Rangers (L) is put under pressure from Scott Sinclair of Celtic (R) during the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership match between Celtic and Rangers at Celtic Park on March 12,...

After all, the Northern Ireland international has found himself stuck behind Tavernier in the pecking order ever since he arrived from MK Dons in the summer of 2016. Hodson has made just five Scottish Premiership appearances in 2017/18 following on from a total of eleven in his debut season.

Though lacking the same creative tendencies, the former Watford man is a solid defender who was arguably the best player on the pitch the last time Rangers got a result against Celtic - March's 1-1 league draw.

And Tavernier’s exit could hand Hodson a run in the starting XI for the first-team – provided Rangers don’t have an immediate replacement in mind.

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