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Football: Hooper's future still unresolved says Lennon

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Celtic manager Neil Lennon admitted on Monday that Gary Hooper's future remains unresolved even though he expects the in-demand striker to quit the Scottish champions.

Hooper is keen to leave Parkhead after Premier League club Norwich and Championship side QPR both expressed interest in the prolific English forward.

QPR remain favourites to sign the 25-year-old after tabling a bid reported to have been increased to around £5 million.

No deal has been agreed yet, but Lennon has been unable to persuade Hooper to commit himself to the Glasgow giants and he expects the former Scunthorpe man to move on.

Hooper returns to the Celtic squad for Tuesday's second leg of their Champions League qualifier against Cliftonville after recovering from a groin strain.

And ahead of the visit of the Irish part-timers, who trail 3-0 from the first leg in Belfast last week, Lennon was asked for an update on the Hooper situation.

"For the time being he is still a Celtic player, he is fit now and a great addition to have for tomorrow night," Lennon said.

"You never say never (Hooper staying). If things aren't agreed or go through then he will be here for at least another year.

"I am hoping to speak to him this afternoon. I haven't had much of a chance to see him in the last week or so.

"I would like to convince him to stay but his mind may be elsewhere.

"This has been going on for the last few weeks but I will make it clear that he is welcome here and we want him to stay."

smg/gnf

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130722/football-hoopers-future-still-unresolved-says-lennon