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Shane Duffy the prime target as Celtic aim to soothe defensive woe

By Adam McKendry

Published 19/07/2016

Wanted: Shane Duffy has interest from Celtic, Swansea and West Brom
Wanted: Shane Duffy has interest from Celtic, Swansea and West Brom

Celtic have stepped up their interest in Blackburn Rovers and Republic of Ireland defender Shane Duffy as Brendan Rodgers looks to shore up his new side's defence.

Rodgers is facing something of an injury crisis at the moment with Jozo Simunovic and Dedryck Boyata both facing spells on the sideline, while Erik Sviatchenko took a bang to the head in Saturday's 2-1 friendly win over VfL Wolfsburg at Parkhead.

The Hoops - hoping to overturn a shock 1-0 deficit against Lincoln Red Imps in the second-leg of their Champions League second round qualifying clash tomorrow - are hopeful that they can entice Blackburn into parting ways with centre-back Duffy by offering them winger James Forrest in return.

However, they will have to fight off Premier League interest with both Swansea and West Brom having already made contact with Rovers.

Duffy, 24, would be the ideal signing for the Scottish champions after impressing in the heart of the Republic's defence during Euro 2016. He replaced John O'Shea in Martin O'Neill's back four for the memorable 1-0 victory over Italy which earned a last 16 clash against hosts France, a match which he also started.

His call-up to the national squad came after a strong season at Ewood Park for Blackburn in the Championship where he was a vital member in their defence.

A highly-rated youngster, Duffy started his career at Everton. However he suffered an unfortunate injury at an international training camp after he collided with goalkeeper Aidan Walsh and required life-saving surgery.

After his return he struggled to recapture his form and, after loan spells at Burnley, Scunthorpe and Yeovil, was eventually sold to Blackburn.

However, he has since recaptured that form with the Championship outfit and has made 65 appearances for the club, resulting in his recent successful international recall.

Belfast Telegraph

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