Neil Lennon wants left-hand drive at Celtic

NEIL LENNON is today preparing to step up his search for an attacking left-sided player to give his squad the balance he wants for the second half of the season.

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Neil Lennon will soon be boosted by the return of James Forrest, Joe Ledley and Kris Commons
Neil Lennon will soon be boosted by the return of James Forrest, Joe Ledley and Kris Commons

The Hoops will be competing on four fronts after the mid-season break, chasing a domestic Treble and facing Juventus in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Lennon does not envisage making many changes to his playing pool when the transfer window opens on Tuesday, either in or out.

But what he would like to see is the arrival of a player with pace to operate on the opposite wing from James Forrest.

Talent-spotter-supreme John Park has been casting his net far and wide to identify possible targets, and Lennon is ready to make his move if the opportunity arises.

The Parkhead boss confirmed: "There is a bit of an imbalance at the minute. We do not have a natural left-footed player down that side.

"They are difficult to find at times, and will probably be even more difficult to find in the January window. But we are looking."

Even without any new additions, the competition for places in midfield is increasing rapidly.

Forrest is gradually returning to full fitness after his injury problems, Kris Commons is also set to make his comeback after recovering from the stud in a thigh sustained during the win over Spartak Moscow, and Joe Ledley will be back after the mid-season break having rested his groin problem.

That could all be bad news for Paddy McCourt, who has struggled to get much game time this season.

With the contract extension he signed in 2010 running out, the 29-year-old Northern Ireland international – who has been at the club since 2008 – is fast approaching another major crossroads in his career.

But Lennon is in no rush to usher him out of the door of the club where he has become a cult figure to the fans.

He got a warm reception when he came on as a substitute at Dens Park in midweek, and Lennon revealed he has no plans to sit down with McCourt to discuss his future.

The manager said: "Paddy has been injured, and that's why he has not been playing.

"I would like to give him more game time if I could. But he has found it difficult to get into the team this year because the team has been excellent.

"But he is still a very important part of the squad.

"We have not had a chat about his situation, and we have had no phone calls about him, so that leaves me happy."

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