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ENGLISH EYES ON STOKES

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ANTHONY STOKES is a priority summer signing target for Birmingham City boss Gary Rowett, according to reports from the south.

The superb two-goal performance from the on-loan Celtic striker in Hibs’ 3-2 Scottish Cup Final win at Hampden impressed the St Andrews gaffer who is determined to win promotion to the Premier League in the new season.

Rowett is expected to follow up his initial interest with a firm bid for the Republic of Ireland frontman who cost the Hoops £1.2million from the Easter Road side six years ago.

Brendan Rodgers could now have a decision to make early in his managerial career at Parkhead. The Irishman has already admitted he needs to trim the oversized squad he inherited from Ronny Deila. There are over 30 players in the first team pool and it is believed he could shed around 10 of that number in the coming weeks.

Stokes, 27, who believes Rodgers is “a great appointment”, has expressed his desire to return to the champions and pick up his career again at the Hoops.

In late 2013, he signed a three-year extension, with Celtic having a one-year option.

Stokes scored nine goals in 25 games while on loan at Alan Stubbs’ Edinburgh outfit and was the Man of the Match at Hampden when he helped the club end their 114-year Scottish Cup hoodoo.

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