Celtic almost certain to face on-loan Bangura
Wolves tight-lipped on rumours of bid for Doyle
Celtic manager Neil Lennon.
Neil Lennon admits his attempt to prevent Mo Bangura lining up against Celtic for Elfsborg in tonight’s third Champions League qualifier at Parkhead has almost certainly been in vain.
The Celtic manager has been strident in his position that the on-loan Celtic striker would be best served not playing against his parent club.
However, the 24-year-old striker from Sierra Leone arrived in Glasgow yesterday for the first leg, with the Swedish club’s boss, Jorgen Lennartsson, reiterating that he will play if required.
“I am not going to make a big song and dance about it but the reality of it is, there is a big possibility that Mo could play,” he said. “If he plays, he plays [but] . . . you would probably need to ask him how he is feeling more than me.”
Lennon added that there is a good relationship between the two clubs, but that he thought the situation puts “Mo in a very difficult position . . . put it that way.”
He added: “I watched them at the weekend and Johan (Mjallby, Celtic’s Swedish assistant) knows Swedish football very well so we will be well prepared for them.”
Parkhead midfielder Joe Ledley was quoted as saying that if Bangura “scored the winner and knocked us out of the Champions League, then it would be difficult for him to come back”.
Lennon was asked about the nightmare scenario and he recognised the danger. “It is a situation that doesn’t occur very much in football but we will deal with as best we can.”
The former Celtic skipper stressed the increase in quality Elfsborg represent in comparison to Cliftonville, the part-time side from Northern Ireland whom the Scottish champions beat 5-0 on aggregate in the previous round.
‘Youth and experience’
“They are the Swedish champions with international players, full-time obviously and 17 games into their season so they are match-sharp,” he said.“There is a good mixture of youth and experience in their team. It is a concern that the longer the game goes on we might tire a little bit quicker than they will but I think we have enough quality . . . to give them enough problems.”
Lennon, who insisted there had been no second bid from Nottingham Forest for defender Kelvin Wilson, revealed that Derk Boerrigter will be added to his squad if the 26-year-old Ajax forward completes his medical.
Wolves are staying tight-lipped on claims that they have rejected a cheeky €575,000 bid from Celtic for Republic of Ireland international striker Kevin Doyle. Wolves value the 29-year-old at up to €3.45 million. Celtic had a bid for Doyle rejected in January and have maintained their interest. But Wolves’ manager Kenny Jackett has made it clear that Doyle will not be leaving on the cheap.