NEIL LENNON'S interest in Charlton defender Michael Morrison appears to have been stepped up.
The Celtic manager, below, made his way to Oxford's Kassam Stadium on Tuesday to watch the Division Two side play Charlton in their FA Cup replay.
Another player linked to the Hoops in the past, 32-year-old striker, Yann Kermorgant, grabbed two of the goals in the 3-0 victory for the English Championship club.
But, it was the Frenchman's team-mate, Morrison, who was having his form assessed.
The 25-year-old Charlton vice-captain is out of contract in June, and would be free to sign a pre-contract agreement.
However, if Celtic do decide to convert their interest into a serious attempt to bring him on board, Morrison would be available now for around £500,000.
While a goal scorer remains top of Lennon's January shopping list, he is also keen to strengthen his defence.
Middlesbrough's Rhys Williams is also on their radar.
But the Australian international - who appeared to be set to join Swansea - would cost around three times what it would take to land Morrison, would require much higher wages, and has a more suspect injury record.
The durable Morrison has made more than 300 appearances in a career which started at Leicester and took him to Sheffield Wednesday before he moved to Charlton in 2010.
With Georgios Samaras now expected to see out his current contract before leaving Parkhead in the summer, and Joe Ledley tipped to sign the new deal in front of him, Lennon is beginning to get a clearer picture of what he still needs to find for his squad, and the money he will have for wages.
If they do decide to go for Norwich midfielder Robert Snodgrass, that would eat up a huge chunk of this, and would also swallow most of the manager's purchasing power.
Benfica's Filip Djuricic is another player who, like Snodgrass, would cost around £6million.
The Serbian midfielder's agent has made it clear that, despite problems getting into the side since his move from Heerenveen last summer, the 21 year-old wants to stay in Lisbon to fight for his place.
Lennon remains hopeful he can add to the two signings already made in this window, Stefan Johansen and Holmbert Fridjonsson.
But, with the window of opportunity about to enter its final week, the urgency to get deals concluded is becoming greater.
In-form Kris Commons would like to see more new faces arrive, and understands why the club are targeting this month as the main opportunity to do business this year.
He said: "We are definitely looking long-term. We've got half an eye on next season, and the Champions League qualifiers that just seem to pop up from nowhere.
"So, it's important we get players in now of good quality who are going to give us that extra edge in the top club competition in the world.
"You could kind of see that - we were just lacking that cutting edge this term. So, we need to invest."
Meanwhile, reports in Sweden claim Gefle's 16-year-old striker, Tshutshu Tshakasua, is on his way to Parkhead after impressing in a trial in November.