PHILIPPE Clement tonight admitted he is keen for Abdallah Sima to return to Rangers “as fast as possible” so Ibrox medical staff can assess the injury that has ruled the forward out of the African Cup of Nations.

The Brighton loanee, who is the second top scorer for the Ibrox club this season with 15 goals in all competitions, had been away representing Senegal in the Ivory Coast this month.

However, the 22-year-old has been sent home by his country after suffering a thigh injury in a training session on Wednesday.

A statement released by the Senegalese Football Association today predicted the player was facing “a long period of unavailability”.

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Speaking after Rangers’ comfortable 4-1 win over their League Two rivals Dumbarton in a Scottish Cup fourth round game at The Rock this evening, Clement said: “I have been in contact with him already.

“He is going to come back as fast as possible to make a good assessment and to see how long he will be out.

“It is always dangerous to hear those things when they happen when they are not here. I always like to hear my medical staff and what they think about things. So Abda is going to come back as fast as possible.”

Meanwhile, Clement has admitted that Rangers need to reach a financial agreement with John Lundstram, who was named Man of the Match after the victory over part-time Dumbarton, to keep the midfielder at Ibrox beyond the 2023/24 campaign.

The Englishman, who opened the scoring in the triumph over the League Two team, is out of contract in the summer and is currently free to speak to other interested parties.

The Belgian described having five players – Leon Balogun, Borna Barisic, Ryan Jack, Lundstram and Kemar Roofe - whose current deals expire at the end of the season as a “crazy situation” at his pre-match press conference on Friday and is clearly unhappy that he could lose key first team personnel for nothing.

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“That is a financial thing between him and the club,” said his manager. “Both parties show interest to do that, that is clear. We will see in the next couple of weeks and months. He is in the situation where he can sign somewhere else. We will see.

“It is clear that he feels good in the club and the way of working and everybody tells me also that he is showing a better level than he had in the beginning of the season.

“I want to see him continue like that and then there will be a solution between the two parties at the end of the day. I talk with my players every day. It is clear what my mind is about that.”

Clement expressed satisfaction with how Rangers, who won thanks to goals from Lundstram, Cyriel Dessers, James Tavernier and Scott Wright, performed against Dumbarton on their return to competitive action after the winter break.

“They did what I asked, to be professional, to be switched on in every situation and to adapt to the situation,” he said. “On that kind of pitch, we cannot play our normal football. There is not one team in the world who can play really good combination play in those circumstances so you need to adapt.

“We did that by scoring four goals and creating enough other chances. It is a pity you get the goal against, but we were never in trouble and the whole game we were in control. That is important in the cup to go through.

“We gave some extra playing minutes for some players who came back out of injury with Scott Wright, Tom Lawrence, Ryan Jack and with Borna Barisic. That is important for the next weeks and months.”

The former Genk, Club Brugge and Monaco manager rested goalkeeper Jack Butland last night and handed Robby McCrorie his first start of the season and he was pleased with how the young Scot acquitted himself.

“It is important,” he said. “I know his qualities. I see the training. It is still a young player who needs to develop but he has shown really good things in training and I want to give him experiences.

“That is my job in the short term game by game but also looking long term, to give young players chances to develop. It was important for him to take these minutes, like he took the minutes in the friendlies against Hertha and Copenhagen.”