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Football | Europe

Gary Hooper © Gallo Images

Hooper's Celtic future still unclear



Celtic midfielder Joe Ledley hopes in-demand teammate Gary Hooper stays at the Parkhead club beyond the January transfer window.

Striker Hooper was the subject of a £5 million pound bid from English Premier League side Norwich City last week.

The offer was quickly thrown out by Celtic who are looking for a much higher offer for their top goalscorer, who has netted 20 times this season.

However, more clubs are expected to test the Glasgow giants' resolve with increased offers before the transfer window closes at the end of the month.

And speaking before Celtic's match at home against Dundee United on Tuesday, Ledley was hopeful Hooper would continue his career in Scotland and sign a new long-term contract at the club that currently sit nine points clear at the top.

"He's one of our main players. He links up play and scores goals, so hopefully we can keep him," said Ledley.

"Obviously, clubs are going to look to sign him because of what he has done here, but I hope he can stay for a long time. I wouldn't be surprised if more bids come in for him given the talent he is.

"He's a goal scorer and they are in demand, but, as players, we want him to stay, as does the management and the fans.

"All we can do is wait and see what happens, but he still has 18 months on his contract and that's a long time. With a bit of luck the speculation will go out of the window."

The uncertainty surrounding Hooper is not manager Neil Lennon's only worry ahead of the visit of United on Tuesday.

Keeper Fraser Forster is awaiting the results of a scan on a neck injury which caused him to miss the 4-1 win against Hearts on Saturday and could again miss out on the match against United.

He could be joined on the sidelines by Kris Commons and Adam Matthews, who both hobbled out of Saturday's victory with a rib knock and a slight groin strain respectively, while James Forrest is still absent with a hamstring injury.

Meanwhile Ledley, who has just returned from injury, revealed he has the same injury which caused captain Scott Brown problems throughout the first half of the season.

"It is my pelvis, similar to Scott Brown," the Wales international said.

"It depends how I feel. Sometimes when I wake up it is okay, the next day it can be hurting. So I just take it day by day.

"I had exactly the same injection and Brownie is flying now so hopefully it can continue with me."

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