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James McClean: Nottingham Forest set to move for Stoke winger as Martin O'Neill bids to strengthen

James McClean could become one of Martin O'Neill (inset)'s first signings at Nottingham Forest.
James McClean could become one of Martin O'Neill (inset)'s first signings at Nottingham Forest.

New Nottingham Forest manager Martin O'Neill is expected to make a move for James McClean this week.

The former Republic of Ireland boss is determined to strengthen his panel after taking charge at the City Ground and falling to a narrow home defeat to Bristol City on Saturday.

"We would like to strengthen, because we have injuries and we have a few longer term injuries, with boys who are going to be out for six or seven weeks,” he said in the wake of the weekend;s 1-0 defeat that leaves his side seven points off the play-off places.

McClean is heavily linked with a switch to continue his long relationship with O'Neill. The pair, of course, worked together for five years at Ireland but were already well acquainted by then.

O'Neill had given the former Derry City winger his debut in English football, promoting McClean to the first team in his very first game in charge of Sunderland back in December 2011 - a 2-1 win over Blackburn in the Premier League.

McClean joined Stoke City during the summer and has started 17 of the club's 28 Championship fixtures this term. However, manager Nathan Jones recently spoke of his need to 'streamline' his squad, admitting that there are 'too many players' at the club.

Stoke would certainly be keen to recoup their £5m investment if they're to allow the 29-year-old to move on just six months into his four year contract.

O'Neill has been asked about the potential of making a move for McClean and certainly didn't rule it out.

“I have not done anything about anything like that at this minute,” he said.

Forest host Wigan Athletic next Saturday in O'Neill's second game in charge. The boss will be keen to have Roy Keane beside him in the dugout by then, having admitted last week that the Manchester United legend is his preferred candidate for the assistant manager role.

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