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Lennon hopeful on Newton deal
St Mirren manager Danny Lennon expects to conclude the loan signing of Newcastle midfielder Conor Newton today.
The 21-year-old will join fellow Newcastle player Paul Dummett at St Mirren Park in time for the visit of Kilmarnock on Wednesday. Lennon said this morning:
"Conor Newton's deal will be done today, subject to a medical.
"He is hungry, he has got a fantastic education down at Newcastle, has a very good pedigree. He can play anywhere across the midfield and can fit in at right-back also.
"He's got lovely feet, a good passer of the ball and a bright type. He has fantastic legs and if he has that appetite with the way we play and develop players at this football club, we will certainly improve him.
"And if all parties, St Mirren, Conor Newton and Newcastle United gain something out of that, then everybody's a winner."
Newton's arrival until the end of the season could allow St Mirren to sell their own midfield prospect, Kenny McLean. The 20-year-old will miss the Scottish Premier League clash against Killie following knee surgery, but he could be back for the subsequent match and Lennon fully expects him to be fit for the Scottish Communities League Cup semi-final against Celtic on January 27. And Lennon does not think McLean's knee surgery will necessarily close the door on a January move.
"That depends how much these clubs are desperate to get him," Lennon said. "Kenny is a very good prospect and a wonderful talent. The operation Kenny has had is very minor and we are looking at Kenny only missing the Kilmarnock game.
"If he's not back for the Ross County game, we are certainly looking at the semi-final. It's very minor, the window is still going to be open, and it depends how much these bigger clubs out there want a talent like that." Lennon added:
"We are a club that's fantastically well run and the board have got to take a lot of credit for that. We are by no means forced to sell Kenny McLean. By no means do we want to hold the player back. "If it works well for all parties, ourselves, the buying club and more importantly Kenny McLean, then something can be done.
"If not, I'm more than happy to continue to help progress and develop Kenny McLean's fantastic early playing career."
Saints warmed up for the visit of Killie with a 4-3 victory over Dundee United yesterday, which saw David van Zanten avoid a forefeit of singing Madonna's Like A Virgin in a mankini at the last game of the season if he did not score this season. But Lennon revealed he and assistant Tommy Craig had not initially been so pleased to see the full-back go forward before Gary Teale played him in to put Saints 4-2 up. Lennon said: "I was delighted for Vanzy because he has certainly showed glimpses throughout this season that he has got the desire to get forward and have a pop.
"It was funny, with five minutes to go, we wanted a solid back four. And Vanzy overlaps Tealey and Tommy is saying 'where is he going?'
"Then the next minute the ball is in the net. We had a good moment on the bench - what do us coaches know at times?"
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