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By ESPN Staff

Lennon urges Hoops to buy in January

Celtic captain Neil Lennon has urged the Parkhead board to provide funds for manager Gordon Strachan to strengthen in the January transfer window.

The Hoops are 14 points clear at the top of the Bank of Scotland Premier League and are into the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time, facing AC Milan in the new year.

Lennon believes the champions missed an opportunity to push on in 2004 when they failed to replace talismanic striker Henrik Larsson, who departed for Barcelona when Martin O'Neill was boss.

But the 35-year-old Northern Irishman hopes Strachan will get money to improve his squad next month.

Lennon said: 'I always think the time to buy is when you are in front.

'When the club knew Henrik Larsson was leaving, I felt they should have pushed out the boat for Martin O'Neill.

'You're never going to replace Henrik, but you have to look for someone of that calibre and status.

'Obviously, the money wasn't there and I don't know if it is here this time.

'But if you are looking to sign a really top player in January, you have to spend big because managers don't want their players to go mid-season.

'I do think the manager will be shopping around, but it might not be the big-money signings some people are looking for.

'The manager has spoken to Steven Pressley, who is a free transfer, and he would be an excellent acquisition if that came to fruition.

'There is a lot of potential in this squad, but there are areas we can improve on.'

Strachan is of the same mind as his captain but revealed the negotiating that he has to do with his board before a transfer is concluded.

He said: 'I think it is good to buy when the team is on the up.

'However, I don't really have a budget as such.

'You put up a name to the board and they might just go over 'x' amount if he looks a good bargain at that price.

'There's no figure. It's about whether the player is a good investment.

'I didn't think we could afford Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink, but the board felt he was a top player and had a few years left, so they pushed it out more than expected.

'They felt £3.2million was a bargain.

'I think every manager must convince the board you're going for the right man at the right time and I have had their full backing so far.'