RANGERS have been given a boost in their pursuit of Accrington Stanley duo Josh Windass and Matt Crooks as it now seems likely they will be allowed to be leave the club next month.

The pair's manager, John Coleman, claimed last week that he did not have to sell any of his players during the transfer window, his side sit fourth in League Two in England, but their defeat on Saturday to Portsmouth in the FA Cup has changed things.

It is understood that the Lancashire club are ready to cash in on on both players, who are out of contract at the end of this season, now the chance of a third round draw with a Premier League side, and the income that goes with that, has gone.

Windass, 20, is the son of former Aberdeen player Dean and is viewed as one of the best players in the division. The 21-year-old Crooks, a defensive midfielder, has also been tracked by Mark Warburton who has admitted to sending scouts to Accrington matches. It is believed a combined fee of around £500,000 would be enough to get the deals done.

Windass admitted he has been flattered with the interest and found it hard at first to block out the speculation.

He said: "It’s really nice to be linked to bigger clubs as it shows that people are appreciating what you’re doing on the pitch. However, it can have negative effects.

“You can take your mind off your game and spend more time listening to rumours and I think towards the end of the last transfer window I had a dip in form. Maybe I was thinking about that but I spoke to the gaffer and it all got wiped out of my head.”

He and Crooks go back a long way and the fact they combine so well on the pitch is why Warburton would if possible get the two of them into Ibrox within a few weeks time.

Windass said: "Matt and I have been playing together since we were 14 at Huddersfield. When he came to Accrington I knew I already had a good relationship with him on the pitch as I know what he’s going to do when he’s on the ball.

“We have a great understanding and he sits just behind me on the pitch and we link up quite well, it’s like Tetris in the team sometimes when one player moves forward and the other drops in their place!

“With Crooksy also receiving interest, we spoke about it all and we agreed that it’s best to focus on stuff at Accrington and ignore all of the rumours flying about.”

Warburton was coy when asked about Windass, who has scored eleven times this season, The Rangers boss said: "I haven't seen much of him. He's a very talented player I'm sure. I've met his dad on a few occasions, but nothing more than that."

Crooks came up through the ranks via Manchester United and Huddersfield Town and signed for Accrington last season at the end of a successful loan spell.

Accrington boss Coleman will have to admit defeat if Rangers can put together a deal for his players. Although he said: "No-one’s going in January. I could be setting myself up for the biggest egg on my face ever here if someone does go, but I believe what I’m doing is right so we’ll get on with it.

Rangers' match on Saturday at Raith Rovers fell foul of the weather which left many fans who had already set off for Fife unhappy,

The Stark's Park pitch passed an inspection at 9.30am, but a second inspection 90 minutes later deemed the pitch unplayable.