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Saturday 1 November 2014

Lennon hopes lure of last 16 will seal deals

Celtic manager Neil Lennon hopes their progression to the last 16 of the Champions League can help persuade Gary Hooper and Victor Wanyama to extend their contracts.

The pair's representatives have been in negotiations with Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell for several months and Lennon is optimistic that his side's win over Spartak Moscow on Wednesday will ensure they are still at Parkhead beyond the January transfer window.

Lennon, whose side travel to Kilmarnock today for their SPL clash, said: "Why would they want to leave now when they have got something special to look forward to?

"Not many clubs can offer that.

"Gary's representatives are coming up over the weekend. We're hoping we can finally get something done on a positive note. Hopefully. There is no guarantee.

"With Victor we will keep plugging away with his representatives as well and see if we can come to a conclusion that pleases everybody."

Lennon has not discussed his January budget with Lawwell after his side's qualification for the lucrative knockout stages, but does not expect his plans to change dramatically.

"I wouldn't envisage spending a lot of money," said Lennon, who dismissed reports in the Italian press that he had been tracking World Cup-winning striker Vincenzo Iaquinta.

"I don't think I need to. I'm pretty happy with the squad we have got.

"We won the game without Wanyama, we have basically been without James Forrest for most of the campaign. He is not far away and Stokesy (Anthony Stokes) will be fit by mid-January. So we are getting two really good attacking players back in.

"There are areas we would like to enhance the squad and we have been working on that for quite a while."

Meanwhile, Lennon confirmed captain Scott Brown was unlikely to have hip surgery this month.

Lennon also revealed Kris Commons and Mikael Lustig would miss today's clash at Rugby Park after going off injured against Spartak, but both could return next week.

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