Boro ace wanted back at Celtic
MIDDLESBROUGH manager Gordon Strachan is confident Stephen McManus will remain at the Riverside beyond this season despite being linked with a return to Celtic. The Boro boss woke up to news yesterday morning that Bhoys caretaker manager Neil Lennon wants McManus back at Celtic Park when his loan at Middlesbrough expires in the summer. While there is every chance Lennon will land the manager's position with the Scottish giants he may not be as successful in luring the 27-yearold defender back to Glasgow, despite him still having two years left on his contract. Strachan has always maintained a close relationship with Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell, and it is believed a gentleman's agreement has been struck to sign the Scotland international at the end of the campaign. The agreement is for Mick to stay here until the summer, said Strachan, ahead of the Easter weekend double header against Crystal Palace and Plymough Argyle. Everyone knows what a big fan of his I am. At the end of the season I'll have to sit down and talk with Peter Lawwell because we know Peter will be there (at Celtic) at the end of the season. I speak to Peter quite regularly so I'll do that personally. I spoke to Neil (Lennon) on Friday and it (McManus' return) wasn't discussed. McManus has added some much needed stability to the Boro defence with David Wheater benefiting from having the experienced defender alongside him. Wheater made it known earlier this week, he wants the Scot to stay and with McManus relishing life at the club since he swapped the Clyde for the Tees, any request from Lennon is likely to fall on deaf ears. Strachan said: I know his feelings but it would be unfair for me to comment on that. He has been first class. The people at the club like him; he likes being here; the coaching staff love him; the players love him and the backroom staff like him.
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