Photo by Tullio Puglia - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

Neil Lennon responds when asked about Preston-linked Scott Sinclair leaving Celtic

Celtic boss Neil Lennon has told the Daily Record that he hopes winger Scott Sinclair doesn’t leave in January.

Sinclair has been effectively frozen out since Lennon’s appointment in February, and he has made just six appearances this season.

Whilst he travelled to Italy for last week’s Europa League clash with Lazio, he once again wasn’t used. His last appearance for Celtic came on the 28th of September against Hibernian.

With Sinclair’s deal ending next summer, his future at Parkhead is unclear. He could sign a pre-contract agreement with another club come January, but Lennon still hopes he stays.

Scott Sinclair of Celtic. (Photo by Tullio Puglia – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Lennon has again suggested that Sinclair is just being pushed out by other players, but he’s been saying that for months now. Sinclair hasn’t played for nearly two months, so the idea that he’s still in Lennon’s plans is a tough one to believe.

Lennon hopes Sinclair doesn’t leave, suggesting playing time may come in December, but with no contract offer on the table, an exit still seems inevitable in 2020.

“I hope not. He will still play a part,” said Lennon. “We’ve got nine games in December and I imagine Scott will figure the squad or even the team in some of those games.”

“With Tom Rogic coming back into contention, Scotty has been squeezed out at the minute. I’ve got real competition in those places and Scott’s finding himself out of the picture at the minute,” he added.

Scott Sinclair of Celtic celebrates scoring. (Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images)

Preston may well be paying close attention to the situation. Over the summer, North End were linked with a bold move to sign Sinclair; firstly, The Herald claimed Alex Neil wanted a £2.5million deal for Sinclair, whilst the LEP suggested a loan deal was snubbed.

Yet with just a few months left on Sinclair’s deal, that £2.5million tag will have dropped dramatically. In fact, Sinclair would be able to sign a pre-contract agreement and join for free next summer.

Preston may not have been an appealing prospect over the summer, but if Neil still has North End challenging for promotion, Sinclair could see a move as a route back into the Premier League – and adding a player of proven quality like Sinclair could just give Preston an added edge in the second half of the season if a January deal is pursued again.

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