NEIL LENNON’S search for a right-back has taken a new twist with Huddersfield target Tommy Smith on the brink of move to Stoke City.
It appears the Yorkshire club’s asking price of £4million has been met by their Championship rivals and the 27-year-old defender is likely to make the switch within 24 hours once personal terms have been agreed.
Smith left Town’s training camp in Austria yesterday to fuel reports he was on his way to Parkhead, but his destination was England for an expected meeting with the Potteries’ gaffer Nathan Jones to thrash out details.
Lennon is now likely to focus on Sheffield United’s 26-year-old No.2 George Baldock, who, coincidentally, was also on Stoke’s radar until they firmed up their offer for the experienced Town star.
He joined the Bramall Lane outfit for £700,000 from MK Dons two years ago, but they now rate him in the £3million bracket.
The Hoops gaffer, who has already spent over £10million in bringing in centre-half Christpher Jullien (Toulouse), right-back Boli Bolingoli-Mbombo (Rapid Vienna) and midfielder Luca Connell (Bolton), realises he desperately needs cover in the position with Scotland Under-21 international Anthony Ralston his only recognised right-back.
Mikael Lustig and Cristian Gamboa left the champions at the end of their contracts last month and Jeremy Toljan returned to Borussia Dortmund after his loan deal expired.
Centre-back Kristoffer Ajer took over the role in the 3-1 win over FK Sarajevo in the Champions League opening qualifier in Bosnia on Tuesday evening.
Lennon has until a week today to register new players to be eligible for the next stage, assuming, of course, the team are not on the receiving end of a sensational result when they play in Wednesday’s second leg at Parkhead.