Ledley hopes Celtic can keep Hooper

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 January, 2013, 3:48am


Celtic midfielder Joe Ledley hopes in-demand teammate Gary Hooper stays at the Parkhead club beyond the January transfer window.

Striker Hooper, who turns 25 on Saturday, was the subject of a £5 million (HK$61 million) bid from English Premier League side Norwich City last week.

The offer was quickly thrown out by Celtic, who are looking for a much higher offer for their top goal scorer, who has netted 20 times this season.

However, more clubs are expected to test the Glasgow giants' resolve with increased offers before the transfer window closes.

Speaking before Celtic's match at home against Dundee United tonight, Ledley was hopeful Hooper would continue his career in Scotland and sign a new long-term contract at the club who currently sit nine points clear at the top of the league.

"Gary is one of our main players. He links up play and scores goals, so hopefully we can keep him," said Ledley.

"Obviously, clubs are going to look to sign him because of what he has done here, but I hope he can stay for a long time. I wouldn't be surprised if more bids come in for him given the talent he is.

"He's a goal scorer and they are in demand, but, as players, we want him to stay, as does the management and the fans. All we can do is wait and see what happens, but he still has 18 months on his contract and that's a long time. With a bit of luck the speculation will go out of the window."

The uncertainty surrounding Hooper is not Celtic manager Neil Lennon's only worry ahead of United's visit.

Keeper Fraser Forster is awaiting the results of a scan on a neck injury which caused him to miss the 4-1 win against Hearts on Saturday and could again sit out the match tonight.

He could be joined on the sidelines by Kris Commons and Adam Matthews, who both hobbled out of Saturday's game with a rib knock and groin strain respectively, while James Forrest is still absent through injury.