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By ESPN Staff

Novo and Mendes give Rangers injury boost

Nacho Novo and Pedro Mendes are set to return to the Rangers squad for Saturday's Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Hamilton.

It was feared Novo could have been out until November after he dislocated his shoulder in a training-ground accident two and a half weeks ago

But a specialist in England appears to have cured the problem with a series of injections and the Spanish forward is set to feature this weekend.

Mendes has also missed the opening two games of the season due to a thigh injury but he has been training on his own and is due to rejoin the full squad on Thursday.

Manager Walter Smith told Rangers World: ''We hope to have Nacho back on Saturday and that is better than we expected as we felt we were going to lose him for a long time with a shoulder injury. The specialist in England has managed to fix him up and he is back in training with us.

''We had a young player receiving treatment from the same specialist for an ankle problem and the specialist happened to mention that he regularly treated rugby players for shoulder injuries.

''We sent Nacho down and he has helped him enormously. So as long as there is nothing untoward then it should be all good.

''He was doing very well for us prior to the injury and he has only missed a couple of weeks so getting him back now is a big bonus for us.''

Smith added of Mendes: ''We also hope that Pedro will be available for us at the weekend.

''Pedro had a tear in his thigh but we think it will be clear later this week. He will train on his own until that point and then he will rejoin the group on Thursday.''

The return of Mendes is particularly good news, with Kevin Thomson suspended following the midfielder's red card in Sunday's win at Hearts.

The 2-1 victory was Thomson's first competitive start for more than nine months but he lasted only 13 minutes at Tynecastle.

Rangers will now set up reserve games to increase Thomson's match fitness as he will be unable to kick a ball in anger now until September 12.

Smith said: ''Kevin now misses the Hamilton game this weekend and, with the international break then kicking in, our next competitive match is not until September 12 when we play at Motherwell.

''So I think it is going to be important that we try to get game time for Kevin in either closed-door games or reserve matches over that period.

''It is the same for a few other players who have yet to feature heavily in the competitive matches.''


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