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Lennon: Celtic may move for Hooper

Neil Lennon last night admitted he could consider a move to bring Gary Hooper back to Celtic Park.

Hooper left to join Norwich City in the Barclays Premier League in a £5m deal last summer but, after three years in the top flight, the club is in grave danger of relegation. Celtic would have no chance of luring Hooper back if Norwich survive but if they return to the Sky Bet Championship it may be possible to attract the 26-year-old with the prospect of Champions League football and more domestic success.

For Hooper to stay in the top flight Norwich need to beat Arsenal on Sunday and hope that Sunderland lose at home to Swansea.

Over three full seasons Hooper scored 82 goals in 137 appearances under Lennon, coming close to an England call-up, but he has scored only eight times in 33 appearances this season. Earlier this week Kris Commons, whose 30 goals this season helped fill the void left by Hooper, said he would love to have his former team-mate back.

The Celtic manager reiterated yesterday that signing a centre-forward is his priority this summer but he was cautious about whether Hooper could be tempted north for a second time. "It would be nice to have him back but I think we'll be a long way off that I'd imagine," said Lennon. "We want to strengthen at centre-forward.

"I'd imagine the Hooper thing would rumble on but whether we could tempt him back or not I don't know. I don't like talking about a player who's under contract at another club. But we think very highly of Gary, put it that way. Whether we could do a deal he or the club would entertain it I don't know.

"We're going to lose Georgios Samaras, who's proven at that level, so I'm going to have to find a good player to replace him, whether it's a centre-forward or someone similar to Samaras."

Celtic will go to Austria for a two-week pre-season training camp this summer, but Lennon said he knew nothing about reported moves to stage an Old Firm fixture in Dubai.

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