Friday 15 November 2019

Momentum building on Celtic's pursuit of Ireland's Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle during tough times at Wolves last season
Kevin Doyle during tough times at Wolves last season

Celtic boss Neil Lennon is preparing to add Wexford's Kevin Doyle to his strikeforce even though Gary Hooper's proposed move to QPR stalling.

The Wolves striker came agonisingly close to a loan move to Parkhead in January but it fell through although Lennon has spoken repeatedly about rekindling his interest.

The Celtic boss was remaining coy when asked about possible transfer targets but did admit that they have a striker very much in mind and want him in as soon as possible.

“We do have a No1 striker in mind and even if Gary (Hooper) stays we’d still like to bring that player in," he said.

“We’re not really making great inroads but we’re trying our best.

“I’d like to have him by Thursday as that would mean he’d be eligible for the Elfsborg game.

“We’re working really hard on that one but it’s slow progress at the minute.

“He’s someone we hope will score goals on a regular basis, the way Hooper has done in the last couple of years.

“He’s a player we like and a player we’ve liked for a while.”

QPR remain favourites to sign the 25-year-old Gary Hooper after tabling a bid reported to have been increased to around the £5m mark, but no agreement has been reached with the Scottish champions.

Ahead of the visit of the Northern Irish side, who trail 3-0 from the first leg in Belfast last week, the Celtic boss was asked for an update on the Hooper situation.

"I have no idea, to tell you the truth," he said. "But for the time being he is still a Celtic player, he is fit now and a great addition to have (for the Cliftonville game).

"You never say never (of Hooper staying). If things aren't agreed or don't go through, then he will be here for at least another year.

"I am hoping to speak to him this afternoon. I haven't had much of a chance to see him in the last week or so. I would like to (convince him to stay) but his mind may be elsewhere.

"This has been going on for the last few weeks but I will make it clear that he is welcome here and we want him to stay."

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