Friday 22 February 2019

Martin O'Neill keen to bring James McClean to Nottingham Forest in bid to trigger promotion push

Stoke City manager Nathan Jones (right) celebrates at full time with James McClean after Saturday's win over Leeds. Inset: Martin O'Neill, who is keen to bring McClean to Nottingham Forest
Stoke City manager Nathan Jones (right) celebrates at full time with James McClean after Saturday's win over Leeds. Inset: Martin O'Neill, who is keen to bring McClean to Nottingham Forest

Aidan Fitzmaurice

Martin O'Neill will try to push through a deal to sign James McClean this week.

O’Neill had a losing start to his reign as Nottingham Forest boss, his side beaten 1-0 at home to Bristol City, and the 66-year-old admits that he needs to bring in new faces before the transfer window closes to push his side into the race for promotion.

“We would like to strengthen, because we have injuries and we have a few longer term injuries, with boys who are going to be out for six or seven weeks,” O’Neill said.

Defence is a priority for O’Neill at Forest but McClean has been strongly linked with a move. The Derry native is only six months into a four-year deal with Stoke, but new boss Nathan Jones admitted last week that changes had to be made.

“We need to streamline the squad - that is the first thing we have to do because there are too many players here,” Jones said of his Stoke panel.

Stoke paid £5m for McClean - who has been a sub in their last three games - only last summer and they would expect a return on their investment if a move did happen but it’s unclear how much Forest are willing to offer.

“I have not done anything about anything like that at this minute,” former Ireland manager O’Neill said about the McClean link.

McClean and O’Neill worked together at Sunderland and also with the national team.

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