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Brendan Rodgers aims to bolster his Celtic squad for Champions League bid

By Gavin McCafferty

Published 22/07/2016

Chris Davies
Chris Davies

Celtic are hopeful of bringing in a player to bolster their squad for next Wednesday's Champions League qualifier against Astana.

Ulsterman Brendan Rodgers' Celts fly out on Monday to Kazakhstan and assistant manager Chris Davies admits they are closing in on their second major signing of the summer, after Moussa Dembele's arrival.

The Uefa deadline for new players expired last night but one player can be added afterwards until the end of Tuesday.

Celtic have been linked with moves for Aston Villa winger Scott Sinclair and Blackburn defender Shane Duffy.

Davies said: "We're hopeful of doing something but the most important thing, it's the right person. We have the option of the wildcard up until the day before the game, so it gives us a bit of leeway.

"It's a big enough squad so we want to bring players in that can improve the team. We know what we want."

Astana clinched their place in the third qualifying round thanks to a late winner against Lithuanian side Zalgiris Vilnius.

The win continued Astana's unbeaten home record in the Champions League, which helped them reach the group stages last season.

They beat Maribor, HJK Helsinki and Apoel and only lost twice in their group, although they finished bottom.

Davies said of Celtic's opponents: "This team are good. They got points off Atletico Madrid, Benfica, Galatasaray at home."

Celtic have experience of playing in Astana's stadium, losing 2-0 to Karagandy three years ago before overturning the deficit at Parkhead.

Celtic host Leicester in the International Champions Cup tomorrow, and several players are likely to be rested following their 3-0 win over Lincoln Red Imps.

Belfast Telegraph

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