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St Ledger fuming after Preston block Celtic move

SEAN ST Ledger has revealed his unhappiness with Preston North End after he was deprived of a move to Celtic and the chance to play alongside Ireland team-mate Robbie Keane, writes Aidan Fitzmaurice.

Earlier this week, Preston boss Darren Ferguson expressed his delight at the fact that the club had managed to keep hold of St Ledger during the January transfer window, but the player is not happy with the Lancashire club after they turned down a £3m offer from Celtic.

"The club didn't accept a bid so I have to get on with it. It would have been nice if the chairman had returned my calls though," St Ledger said.

"It would have been nice to be kept in the loop, and he still hasn't spoken to me which is disappointing.

"The move was something I would have definitely considered if there had been a bid accepted. I think everyone who plays for Ireland always has a link with Celtic. It would have been massive for me if I had that opportunity, but I never had it. The draw of Champions League football was great but it wasn't too be. There is also the draw of playing in front of 60,000 fans but that is over now," added an angry St Ledger.

"It's a pity because you just have to look at the scenes the other night when Robbie went there. You could see all the Irish flags, that would have been great. But it wasn't to be. You just have to try to move on from there and accept it."

St Ledger, who has been appointed captain at Deepdale by Ferguson, had a spell on loan at Middlesbrough earlier this season but that did not result in a long-term deal at the Riverside.

ROY Keane plans to use Ireland striker Daryl Murphy in his front line at Ipswich Town as soon as the Irishman proves his fitness.

Murphy ended a five-year stay at Sunderland when he joined Ipswich on transfer deadline day and, after linking up with former Sunderland boss Keane once again, the Waterford native is in line to make his Ipswich debut against Middlesbrough on Saturday. The 26-year-old made just three Premier League appearances for Sunderland this season and was used mainly as a winger, but Keane, who also signed forward David Healy, wants Murphy to play as a striker.

"Up front is an area that I certainly feel we need to improve. I have made many enquiries for players over the past month or two and spoke to managers, and I was pleased to get over the finishing line with Sunderland," Keane said.

"I have worked with both David and Daryl before, and I'm delighted to have them at the club. Murph gives us options. He can play on the left but I think we will get the best out of him up front. We will gauge their fitness with Saturday in mind, but they are keen to be involved and know the demands I will put on them," added Corkman Keane.

Bolton boss Owen Coyle believes that Irish defender Mark Connolly will use his loan spell in Scotland to force his way into the first team at the Reebok. Former Monaghan United man Connolly is highly rated at Bolton, who had to pay £1m in compensation to Wolves when they signed the teenager last year.

"St Johnstone is one of my former clubs and one that I know very well," Coyle said. "I know people will look after him and that he's gone to a club that has got a good infrastructure.

"I think that will be the making of him. He'll get regular football at a good standard and then, when he returns, make a push for the first team."