Scott Sinclair: Celtic confirm interest in Aston Villa winger

Scott Sinclair celebrates with Aston Villa against Cambridge United in pre-season
Scott Sinclair remains with Aston Villa

Celtic are interested in signing winger Scott Sinclair from Aston Villa, the Scottish champions' first-team coach John Kennedy has confirmed.

Kennedy was asked about reports that the English Championship club had rejected bids from the Glasgow outfit.

"There are a number of targets we're looking at," he said.

"He is one that has been mentioned, but he's still an Aston Villa player. That is certainly the calibre of player we're looking at."

Sinclair was sold to Villa by Manchester City last summer, with the 27-year-old signing a four-year contract.

But Villa were relegated from the Premier League at the end of a season in which he made 32 appearances for the Midlands side.

Kennedy also revealed that new signing Kolo Toure would not play in Dublin on Saturday as Celtic continue their preparations for the start of their title defence with a friendly against Barcelona.

The 35-year-old Ivory Coast central defender, who signed on Sunday, is still lacking fitness after his summer release by Liverpool.

However, Kennedy said that Toure could yet be drafted in for the second leg of their Champions League qualifier against Astana on Wednesday.

"It's pretty much the same squad we had in Astana," he said.

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers and Kolo Toure
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers and Kolo Toure previously worked together at Liverpool

"Kolo is still working fitness-wise, so he also stays back to do some extra work. It's still a bit early for him to play in tomorrow's game. We will look at that again and assess that on Monday.

"It depends how he comes through the next few days. If he shows his fitness levels are good enough, he is an option."

Celtic are short of cover in defence with Erik Sviatchenko, Jose Simunovic, Dedryck Boyata and Kristoffer Ajer all unavailable through injury.

Mikael Lustig was left out of the travelling squad heading to Ireland as a precaution, and Kieran Tierney might sit out at the Aviva Stadium after suffering cramp in Astana.

On top of their defensive absentees, midfielder Stefan Johansen has also been given the weekend off after his wife gave birth on Friday morning.

However, Simunovic is stepping up his recovery work after six months out with a knee injury.

"Jose was out on the pitch today and that is good to see," added Kennedy.

"He's been out a long time, but he needs time to get his levels back up to the point where he can rejoin the group. But the signs are positive."

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