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RODGERS TO STEP UP McGINN BID

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BRENDAN RODGERS is poised to launch a second bid for Hibs midfielder John McGinn.

The Celtic boss is preparing his troops for the opening Champions League qualifier against to Alashkert in Armenia on Tuesday.

Rodgers has to announce his squad for the first leg tie by 11pm tomorrow although one more wild card signing can be added by 11pm on Monday.

The Easter Road side rejected an original £1.5million offer for their Scottish international earlier this week, but the champions are ready to come back in with an improved financial package that may include Scott Allan, who spent the second half of the previous campaign with the Edinburgh outfit.

Rodgers is also hopeful of sealing a loan deal for Liverpool winger Harry Wilson who would be seen as a straight replacement for Patrick Roberts who returned to Manchester City at the end of the season after his second temporary transfer expired.

After watching Moussa Dembele score the only goal of the game against Sparta Prague in the third pre-season game in Austria yesterday, the Parkhead gaffer said: “There is a lot of speculation around players, but I will only talk when they are signed and done. The club are trying to do that.

“It is not a case of: ‘Get replacements and then improvements’ — it’s what we need combined, but it’s important we get replacements.”

The only two additions to the player pool has been the permanent deals for Odsonne Edouard in his record-breaking move from Paris Saint-Germain and goalkeeper Scott Bain after he impressed during his loan switch from Dundee in January.

Stuart Armstrong has gone to Southampton for £7million and, of course, Roberts is back at The Etihad after two-and-a-half years at the Hoops.

It also looks as though Rodgers’ interest in right-back Moses Odubajo is over with the player, who missed the past two years at Hull City through injury, returning to former club Brentford for training.

Dedryck Boyata, Mikael Lustig and Tom Rogic will miss the matches against Alashkert due to their involvement in the World Cup although the Australian midfielder should be back training within the next 10 days.

As CQN reported yesterday, Jonny Hayes is likely to be sidelined, too, for the tie in Armenia after sustaining a thigh injury early in the weekend game against Vorwarts.

The Hoops players now have a couple of days off before returning to prepare for the friendly against Shamrock Rovers in Dublin on Saturday.

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