Celtic manager Neil Lennon has provided supporters with a quadruple injury boost ahead of tomorrow night’s Cluj clash.
Nir Bitton, Leigh Griffiths, Mikey Johnston, and Tom Rogic are all in the mix to feature against the Romanians. That’s despite the fact that all four have been struggling for game-time in recent weeks. Rogic was the only one to make the squad for Saturday’s trip to Hibs.
There was, however, a bit of a blow for Austrian right-back Moritz Bauer. He looks to be sidelined with the ankle knock he picked up in the weekend’s 1-1 draw.
But overall, the squad is looking a lot healthier after the Hoops manager’s latest update. Speaking in the Daily Record, here’s what Lenny had to say:
“We are looking healthy, we have no fresh injuries. There’s a few bumps and bruises, Moritz (Bauer)’s ankle is still a little bit swollen.
“Nir Bitton is back in training now, Mikey Johnston is back in training now, so the only long-term absentee is Jozo.
“Tom Rogic has a tiny little bit of fluid around the knee but he should train on Wednesday. Griffiths is back in training now but obviously he has missed a few weeks of training. But the squad depth is good.”
Lennon’s wording suggests not all four will feature
It’s evident that Lenny isn’t keen on just tossing all four back into action. The way he talks about Griffiths suggests he could still be touch-and-go. Bringing up the fact he’s missed a few weeks of training suggests that Lennon wants us to tame expectations on him.
Bitton’s return is vital however. He’s another who won’t just be thrown into the starting line-up of course. With Christopher Jullien and Kristoffer Ajer our first choice centre-back pairing, Bitton provides quality cover.
Outside of the Israeli, Celtic don’t have much in the way of depth with Jozo Simunovic sidelined. Hatem Abd Elhamed can always play at the heart of the defence, but his number one position here is at right-back.
Rogic’s concern regarding fluid around the knee is a worry. However, Lennon speaks as though that’s more or less been cleared up. He can’t seriously afford yet another injury blow with the form that Ryan Christie is in.
The only real blow is that of Moritz Bauer. The Austrian performed well at Hibs on Saturday, and would’ve fancied his chances of making another appearance on Thursday.
But the betting man would go for Elhamed at right-back with a combination of Jullien and Ajer in the centre. For Celtic fans, however, it’s just great to see players returning once again.