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Foxes target Lennon for Premier assault


Celtic manager Neil Lennon. Picture: Kenny Ramsay/PA Wire

Celtic manager Neil Lennon. Picture: Kenny Ramsay/PA Wire

Celtic manager Neil Lennon. Picture: Kenny Ramsay/PA Wire

NEIL LENNON is the man that Leicester City want to lead them back to the Premier League.

Yesterday's play-off defeat at Watford will bring Nigel Pearson's 18-month reign to an end with the club's wealthy Thai owners, the Srivaddhanaprabha family, desperate to take them into the Premiership.

Former club captain Lennon is wanted by Foxes chairman Vichai Raksriaksorn, with money available to tempt the Celtic boss.

Lennon, who watched his side collect the SPL trophy following a 4-0 win over St Johnstone on Saturday, would be reluctant to leave Celtic for the Championship, but has become frustrated by the financial straitjacket he has to operate within.

Managing in the Premiership is increasingly becoming a closed shop with Lennon not afraid to talk about his ambitions in management.

"We are going into the market with clubs half the size of us, a third, even," the Celtic boss said last week as he was linked with the vacancy at Everton.

"And yet we can't compete. That's the reality of it. There's more money down in England. All the clubs are going to get £60-70million for staying up."

Despite speculation he could be on his way, Lennon is deep in preparation for next season with Celtic – and says he would love to kick it off in Ireland.

Celtic will enter the Champions League at the second qualifying round despite this season's heroics that saw them reach the last 16.

The second-round draw is likely to be split into three geographical areas, increasing the chances of Celtic meeting Sligo Rovers or Cliftonville in their first competitive match in Ireland since 1998, when they beat St Pat's 2-0 in a Champions League qualifier.

"Obviously it would be great to come out of the draw against Sligo or Cliftonville," Lennon said.

"Neither team is full-time, but having recently taken our development team over to meet Irish league sides, I know that it wouldn't be easy.

"We've got plenty of people across Ireland reporting on what's happening. We'll wait to see what the draw brings us, but playing Sligo or Cliftonville would be welcome."