THE arrivals of Kemar Roofe and Cedric Itten have provided Jermain Defoe with two new challenges to overcome this term. The biggest one is the most familiar one, though, as Rangers attempt to deny Celtic the Premiership crown.

Defoe has tried twice now to play his part in a title-winning Rangers side and on both occasions Steven Gerrard’s side have come up short. The reasons – a loss of form and a lack of goals in the second half of the respective campaigns – have been identified and the coming months will determine whether they have been rectified.

Defoe has provided more than reliable and capable backup to Alfredo Morelos during his 18 months at Ibrox but with no viable third option, Gerrard’s side have seen two campaigns wither to hugely disappointing conclusions. A third such finale cannot be comprehended at present given the ramifications at Ibrox.

With the departure of Morelos now a matter of when not if, Gerrard has sought to position himself ahead of the curve in recent days. The announcements of the deals for former Anderlecht striker Roofe and Itten, who joins from St Gallen, were warmly welcomed by a support that were more than concerned about Rangers’ slim pickings up front.

It is not just those same fans that are enthused at the prospect of more firepower. If Rangers are to be champions, Defoe knows the bolstered arsenal must hit their targets.

"I'm excited by it,” he said of the added competition that Roofe and Itten will provide this season. “Throughout my career, I've always been excited by new players coming in, whether they are strikers or midfielders and I want to see how good they are.

“Bringing players in is part and parcel of the game now, especially if you want to achieve something special. I'm looking forward to seeing them both.

"You see players come in and while I've never been one to take my foot off the gas too, you know that if you get an opportunity you have got to take it.

“If there are players with the potential to take your place then that is healthy. It's tough for the manager, but at the same time it's something that you need.

"I'd like to think [I would back myself]. In terms of numbers last season I was happy with my goals and the amount of games I played until I got the injury, which was frustrating because I missed a lot of games.

“But in terms of numbers it was probably the best I'd had in years. It was good for me, but collectively it would have been better if we had achieved something.

“You always want your goals to count for something - if you score goals but you don't win anything at the end of it, then it's frustrating. It would mean a lot more if we had won something.”

The acquisitions of Roofe and Itten come as Morelos edges towards to an exit from Ibrox and Defoe inches closer to a return to action following the hamstring strain he picked up during the pre-season trip to France.

Losing the 37-year-old – who scored 17 times in 32 appearances last season – for any length of time is always going to cause an issue for Gerrard. Thankfully for the Light Blues boss, his former England colleague is well on the road to recovery as Rangers once again set their sights on the Premiership title.

Defoe said: "I'm not far away, I'm probably a week away. I've ticked every box in terms of the hamstring. It's good and I'm getting back to normal.

“To be honest, I would rather have it now than midway through the season. I've had time to sort out my hamstring problem. I didn't miss any pre-season sessions which was good, so in terms of fitness, I'm just ticking over. I'm happy with where I am.

"I'd like to think [we can challenge for the title]. When you sign for any football club you want to impress the manager and the fans and your team mates.

“And let's be honest this is a massive football club so any player that comes here has to be a top player. So it will certainly strengthen the squad."