Lennon: Late call on Ambrose

  • Last Updated: February 7 2013, 19:46 GMT

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has refused to write off Efe Ambrose's chances of facing Juventus in the Champions League next week despite booking his place in the African Nations Cup final.

Neil Lennon: Will make late call on whether to play Efe Ambrose

Ambrose and his Nigeria team-mates will face Burkina Faso on Sunday evening at 1800 GMT, placing a question mark over his availability for the first leg of the last-16 clash at Parkhead.

Lennon concedes the versatile defender is a doubt but will give him every opportunity ahead of Tuesday's European outing.

He told CelticTV: "Nigeria did fantastically well and Efe has played brilliantly in the game so I'm delighted for him in one way, but obviously very frustrated in another.

"The final is on Sunday and he probably won't get back until Monday evening, so he would be a doubt.

"We will get him into the squad and see how he is feeling."

Better news for Lennon is the likelihood that James Forrest and Fraser Forster will both be available for the visit of the Italian side.

Forrest has had a scan after returning to Celtic Park early from Scotland duty, having made his return from a hamstring injury against Raith Rovers last weekend.

Lennon said: "He's just having a wee problem with his hamstrings at the moment. He came off again on Sunday feeling a bit tight.

"He went away with Scotland and had a scan on Tuesday back in Glasgow.

"There was nothing on the first reading so we are hopeful he will be all right.

"He's going for a second one today just to confirm it.

"If that's the case, we'll maybe not have him for this weekend but he'll be in the squad for Juventus."

Forster should return against Inverness on Saturday after being sidelined with a neck injury, while striker Georgios Samaras (hamstring) and left-back Emilio Izaguirre (knee) are battling to recover from injury ahead of the Juventus game.

Lennon said: "Fraser should be all right for the weekend and, if he comes through that, then he'll be starting against Juventus.

"With Sammy, we're giving him every opportunity and we'll see how he is over the weekend. Emilio should be fit for the game."


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