RANGERS midfielder Kyle Hutton insists competition for places at Ibrox will not be affected by the absence of fresh faces in January.
A registration embargo imposed by the Scottish Football Association as a condition of Rangers newco gaining membership of the SFA in the summer means Ally McCoist will not be allowed to field any new players until September 1.
However, Hutton believes the Rangers manager can already choose from a “healthy squad” at the moment.
Ahead of the trip to Annan Athletic, the 21-year-old said: “We haven’t been thinking about the January transfer window, we’ve just been concentrating on the football side of things.
“Obviously it is strange because you will hear of other teams going out and signing players but we feel as though we’ve got a healthy squad.
“The way the squad is just now, there is always competition for places.
“When you can sign players, there is that worry about people coming in and taking your place.
“But, as I said, there are a lot of great players here so you are always on your toes to play well and keep your place.
“I’m getting a mini-run in the side just now and I recently scored my first goal for Rangers, which was a great feeling for me.
“But Ian Black is back fit now so I know I need to perform in every single game to try to keep him out of the team.
“I’m just concentrating on my game and hopefully every game I play in I can play well.”
Hutton is relaxed about the prospect of clubs testing the resolve of the Irn-Bru Third Division leaders in the new year by targeting some of the Ibrox players such as Lewis MacLeod and Barrie McKay who have impressed since making the breakthrough into the first team this season.
He said: “There is (that danger) but Rangers are a massive club and I’m sure all the boys who are here just now want to make their careers here for as long as they can.
“At a great club like Rangers, with a massive fan base, I think that if another team did come in for some of the boys, they would think long and hard about going.
“The best thing would be staying and I’m sure the other boys would agree with me.”
Rangers first visit to Annan in September, when the Ibrox side were still adapting to life in the bottom tier of Scottish football, ended in a goalless draw.
However, the Light Blues’ 1-0 win over Queen’s Park at Hampden on Saturday was their 10th successive victory leaving them 15 points clear of Elgin at the top of the table.
Hutton claims it was a case of getting used to new people and places although he is still not fan of artificial surfaces in the division, such as Annan’s third generation pitch.
“We have shown that we are learning to play against the teams now,” he said.
“Overall, we are handling everything a lot better now.
“You are still not comfortable with them (plastic pitches), it’s still in the back of your head when you’re twisting and turning and you think that you need to be more careful.”