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Dec 14, 2009

Sam Allardyce plays down Morten Gamst Pedersen speculation

Sam Allardyce has played down speculation that Morten Gamst Pedersen is interesting Celtic, but Benni McCarthy could be making a January departure from Blackburn Rovers.

• Pedersen eyes Parkhead move

Pedersen, who is out of contract at the end of the season, admitted in an interview on Monday morning that he would be attracted by a possible move to the SPL with Tony Mowbray's Celtic.

But Allardyce is adamant that he is keen to keep the vast majority of his squad at Ewood Park and has postponed any contract talks with Pedersen as he focuses on a busy festive period for the club.

"I've had no enquiries for my players at this moment," Allardyce said. "Someone has whispered in my ear about the first bit of speculation, that Morten is going to Celtic. We're going to get the normal chip paper flying around in the next few weeks.

"We're not in a contract sort of mood at the moment - I'm certainly not. Talking about contracts and talking about ins and outs at this stage of the season - we've got a massive December coming up and a massive January and the distractions that come our way can destroy what you do on the field of play.

"So I want to keep as far away from that as we possibly can and cover it when we are good and ready and consider it to be the right time."

South African striker McCarthy is a different case though as he has spoken of his frustration at starting only three Premier League games this season. Allardyce admits that McCarthy could be granted permission to leave the club.

"It has been documented that Benni has not been playing enough and that he is not quite as settled as he would perhaps prefer because he's not playing enough," Allardyce said. "So whether some of that does happen in that area, who knows? Then we would move into the market for somebody else.

"But there are four strikers at our club at the moment and we are not in a position to take any more on than that financially. We are comfortable with the squad as a whole at the moment and I think the biggest thing is hanging on to our best players.

"That would be the biggest worry for me in the transfer window, rather than bringing somebody in, making sure we hang on to what we have got."

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