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Lennon looks to Murphy to add some mettle

Daryl Murphy is on his way to Celtic in a £1.2m deal from Sunderland.

Neil Lennon wants the 27-year-old to add a physical presence to his strike force and is expecting the former Waterford man to join the club on their North American tour.

Celtic face Manchester United tonight in Toronto with Lennon expecting to have Murphy and £3m Mexican Efrain Juarez join his squad before they meet Seattle Sounders on Monday.

Lennon admitted: "Daryl's quick and he's 6ft 3ins. I watched him a few years ago when he was playing for Ireland in a tour of America.

"He impressed me and I've kept an eye on him ever since then. He had a good spell at Ipswich on loan and I think he would do well for us. He would take the hits for us and he's a boy who wants to come and play here."

Murphy's career looked to be on the slide after he fell out of favour at Sunderland after joining the club in 2005 under then manager Mick McCarthy.

Roy Keane took the striker on loan to Ipswich last season where he scored six times in 18 games to help steer the club clear of relegation.

Murphy had an option to return to Ipswich but has decided to join Celtic where he will hope to relaunch his international career after picking up nine caps.

Juarez will require a work permit to complete his transfer from Mexico but that is expected to be a formality with the 22-year-old a regular in the international side, picking up his 22nd cap in the World Cup defeat from Argentina.

Lennon will play his strongest side against Manchester United after fielding a younger XI in the 1-0 defeat by Philadelphia Union on Wednesday night.

Like most rookie manager's the new Celtic boss is hoping to tap into Alex Ferguson's wealth of experience.

The Celtic boss said: "If I could get 15 minutes with Alex afterwards it would be brilliant.

"I'd ask him a few things about starting out in management and how he dealt with things. I'd like to know how he dealt with the bad times more than the good times as he's done everything.

"I know he's had tremendous highs but he's had lows as well, particularly early on in his career at Manchester United.

"I'd love to know how he dealt with that.

"He's just the best. The best manager in my lifetime anyway."


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