Mowbray hints at double exit
Tony Mowbray admits he could reluctantly let defensive duo Danny Fox and Stephen McManus leave Celtic.
By Jamie Casey
Last Updated: 26/01/10 5:01pm
Celtic boss Tony Mowbray admits he could reluctantly let defensive duo Danny Fox and Stephen McManus leave the club.
Left-back Fox, who only joined the club from Coventry last summer, is a target for new Burnley boss Brian Laws while McManus is believed to be on Middlesbrough's radar.
Despite paying £1.5million for Fox's services upon taking over as Parkhead boss, Mowbray sees the 23-year-old as an asset he could sell to fund further fresh faces at the club.
"An opportunity has arisen for Danny," said the former Hibernian and West Brom boss.
"I get on very well with Brian Laws, I played with him at Middlesbrough many years ago, we had a conversation and I put the opportunity to Danny.
"It allows me a bit of flexibility in this window to move things around.
"But what I will say about Danny Fox, if nothing happens at Burnley for Danny then there is every chance that as soon as he is fit and available - he's a week or so away now - he will be featuring at left-back in the next game because he is a quality footballer."
Asked if he considered Fox's short time at Celtic to have been a success, Mowbray replied: "I think so. He's a player of high quality but I have to make decisions.
"I have Paul Caddis, Lee Naylor, Darren O'Dea and Mark Wilson, who has played Champions League football at left-back. So there's four players who can play left-back."
He added: "It's about flexibility for me and trying to prioritise the squad."
Club captain McManus, who has been at the club since he was a youth, was a favourite under old boss Gordon Strachan, now manager of Middlesbrough.
But the 27-year-old has failed to keep his place in the side under Mowbray this term, prompting interest from the Riverside, where Strachan has already taken three former Bhoys in Willo Flood, Chris Killen and Barry Robson.
However, Mowbray insists he rates McManus highly as both a player and a professional, but will not stand in the way of a move if the right deal becomes available.
"I am not resigned to losing Stephen," he said. "I think it is an opportunity for him.
"I will put on record what a fantastic man he is and what a fantastic player he has been for this club and if this deal doesn't happen he will be back on the training ground and striving to get himself in the team.
"He is a great leader of men and they are in shortage but this is an opportunity for him and something that he is exploring and we will wait and see what develops.
"I have just brought in two young centre-halves recently (Josh Thompson and Thomas Rogne), I have brought in Jos Hooiveld, who is left-footed, and I have Darren O'Dea back from Reading.
"If he goes, I'm sure he will do very well. If he doesn't go, as I said, he will be competing to be in the team and I wouldn't put it past Stephen to see him at the heart of our defence for the rest of the season."
Celtic confirmed the signing of Danish international striker Morten Rasmussen on Tuesday and Mowbray admits he could be thrown straight in at the deep end as the Bhoys prepare to host Hibs on Wednesday.
"There's a fair chance Morten will be in the squad of 18 and a fair chance he will be on the pitch," he said. "I am delighted that we could add to the options up front.
"He's a different type of striker to the ones that we have got. Hopefully, given the opportunity, he can score goals which will obviously help the team."