Rangers 'optimistic' of deal for Aston Villa's Joleon Lescott

Rangers are hoping to complete the capture of Joleon Lescott before the weekend after manager Mark Warburton sold an Ibrox move to the Aston Villa defender.

Warburton declared himself "optimistic" over the prospect of Lescott signing and declared he was "very near" to finishing his summer transfer business.

Preston striker Joe Garner is also set to join despite delays in completing the formalities of his £1.5 million transfer.

Warburton met Lescott in Manchester on Tuesday in a bid to persuade him to move to the Ladbrokes Premiership after the 34-year-old former England centre-back was told he was free to leave Villa Park.

When asked about his chances, Warburton said: "I'm optimistic because we have to keep raising the profile of Rangers.

"Players know about the club, know about the history and stature of the club and hopefully we can keep pushing forward. If we can do that and sign players of the right calibre, then it's almost self-fulfilling."

Sunderland were also reported to be interested in Lescott, a former Everton team-mate of Rangers assistant manager David Weir, but Warburton believes they can bridge the financial gap between the Scottish and English top flights by stressing the experience on offer at Ibrox.

The prospective deal has also been helped by the fact that Villa have agreed to cover part of his salary for the year left on his contract.

"We can't compete with Premier League clubs, absolutely not," Warburton said.

"The financial disparity is evident for all to see. But what we can do is look at what we can offer a player. We can offer a player an opportunity here that is maybe not on offer at that club. And maybe those clubs can sign more players to have bigger squads.

"If a player doesn't buy into that, no problem, we shake hands and move on. You want players who want to be here, recognise an opportunity and see a role for themselves with Rangers.

"We can't compete when it comes down to straight cash, but with players of experience and players of quality it's not always about a straight cash deal. It's very much about the quality of opportunity. If we can get that right, then we have a chance."

Warburton has had former Arsenal defender Philippe Senderos training this week but he confirmed he was only looking for one more centre-back and one more striker.

And he feels Rangers are getting a goal threat in 28-year-old Garner.

Warburton said: "A player like that adds experience, adds an edge in terms of how he plays the game, in terms of his enjoyment of the game, a variety of goals, comfortable inside and outside the box, movement and a threat. He's a constant threat."

Warburton received more good news after Jason Holt had a scan on the ankle injury which has curtailed his involvement this season.

"There is no surgical procedure required," he said. "It's just a case of some light bone bruising. So we are hopeful that Jason is six to eight days away from a full return. He is a very talented player and we have missed him."

Martyn Waghorn will also miss Saturday's home game against Motherwell but could be back from his hamstring injury next Friday at Kilmarnock.

"He has worked so hard and the medical team have as well," Warburton said. "He is getting there, he will join us next week I hope and up the intensity again. I think he will be available for Celtic absolutely, whether he will be available for Kilmarnock, I don't know."