RANGERS tonight face their toughest pre-season test to date when they

take on Terry Butcher's Sunderland at Roker Park in a testimonial match

for the English club's defender, Gary Bennett, and once again #4m

striker Duncan Ferguson will be missing, no doubt disappointing what is

expected to be a large travelling support.

The Scottish internationalist was carrying a hamstring injury when he

signed from Dundee United a couple of weeks ago, and it now looks to be

more troublesome than was first thought.

Now, with Ferguson out, Ally McCoist on the injured list, and Gary

McSwegan having moved south to Notts County, the way is open for

20-year-old David Hagen to stake his claim for a first team place

alongside Mark Hateley.

The pair will team up against Sunderland, and it is another step up

for Hagen, who has scored five goals in pre-season matches against

Alloa, Queen's Park, and Berwick Rangers.

Said Rangers assistant manager Archie Knox: ''It's a great opportunity

for him. This is our most significant match yet as both Terry Butcher

and Derek Ferguson will be trying to put one over on us.''

Hagen played six first-team matches last season, scoring on his debut

against Hibernian, and has also played for the Scotland under-21 side.

Now his priority is a regular place in the Ibrox team.

Another who gets his big chance is Fraser Wishart, the former

Motherwell, St Mirren, and Falkirk right-back who earlier this week was

a shock short-term signing by manager Walter Smith.

Wishart has two months in which to convince Rangers he is worth a

longer contract, and he will start at Roker Park tonight. The Rangers

squad for the match is:

Maxwell, Scott, Murray, Brown, Reid, Pressley, Wishart, Huistra, I

Ferguson, McCall, Hateley, Hagen, Mikhailichenko, Watson, Morrow.

Meantime, Rangers will be hoping that three first-team regulars --

Richard Gough, Ian Durrant, and David Robertson -- will be fit enough to

feature in one of Saturday's matches -- against Morton at Cappielow or

Stirling Albion at the official opening of their new ground at


* THE stars will come out at Ayr tonight for Ally MacLeod.

Kenny Dalglish brings his Blackburn Rovers side north for his former

Scotland manager's testimonial and Dalglish will play at some time --

either for Rovers or in a ''golden oldies'' game which precedes the main


The action gets under way at 6.45 with the testimonial match

kicking-off at 7.30.