Tuesday 27 September 2016

Stokes still has a future at Celtic - Collins

Published 09/01/2016 | 02:30

Celtic striker Anthony Stokes
Celtic striker Anthony Stokes

Celtic assistant manager John Collins has revealed Anthony Stokes will go out on loan but insists his career at the club is not necessarily over.

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The Dubliner has been frozen out of Ronny Deila's plans this season - he has played only twice - and was recently suspended for two weeks for tweeting his dissatisfaction at being left out of the squad after travelling to Inverness.

Caley Thistle manager John Hughes, who managed the 27-year-old at Falkirk and Hibernian, has enquired about the possibility of teaming up with the player again.

Collins claimed several clubs are interested in Stokes. He also confirmed 23-year-old Romanian right-back Andrei Peteleu of Petrolul Ploiesti and 17-year-old Norwegian midfielder Kristoffer Ajer of IK Start are on trial at Lennoxtown, and that former Parkhead midfielder Aiden McGeady would not be returning to the Hoops from Everton.

Asked if allowing Stokes to leave on loan signalled the end of his career at Parkhead, Collins said: "It signals it for the rest of this season if he goes on loan. But you never know in football. The door is always open. The manager and Anthony have decided it would be good for him to get some game time.

"There has been a relationship with those two (Hughes and Stokes) before, they have worked well with each other in the past so it might be a good place for Anthony to go. There are other teams interested but we won't force him to go where he doesn't want to go. He has to go away, score goals and play well, that is what football is all about. His attitude lately in training has been very good so hopefully he has turned the corner." On speculation that McGeady could return to the club where he started his career, Collins said: "I don't think it was realistic. He is a Premier League player on Premier League wages. We have always got to be realistic. We have budgets and there is a big gap between the Premier League and the Championship and our league. I would rule that out, yes."

Elsewhere, Irish international Stephen Hunt has joined League One side Coventry on a short-term deal.

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