Celtic set to land Murphy

Daryl Murphy, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Ipswich, is unlikely to return to Portman Road next term.

DARYL Murphy, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Ipswich, is unlikely to return to Portman Road next term.

Instead, the Sunderland target man is eying up a move to Scottish giants Celtic. In fact, the 27-year-old could sign on the dotted line before the end of this week.

Murphy made an immediate impact when signing on loan for Town last January, after finding his opportunities restricted at Sunderland. He scored six goals in his first 11 appearances for Roy Keane’s men, and was the club’s joint leading scorer for a while, although he failed to score again in his final seven games of the campaign.

Town boss Keane was believed to be interested in recruiting Murphy on a permanent basis this summer, although the Irishman will probably be happy to keep hold of fellow centre-forward Connor Wickham instead, while teaming up the 17-year-old with a smaller striker. Cardiff City hot-shot Michael Chopra is still on his radar.

Murphy is expected to become new Celtic manager Neil Lennon’s first signing for a fee of around the �1.5m mark. Sunderland boss Steve Bruce certainly sees him as surplus to requirements at the Stadium of Light.

Meanwhile, ex-Town keeper Richard Wright, who was released by Keane during the final week of last season, could be in line for a shock return to another of his old clubs, West Ham.

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Former England keeper Wright never made a league appearance for the Hammers during his stay at Upton Park in the 2007-08 season, but the East Londoners could be prepared to re-sign the 32-year-old, not least because they have major financial problems – they might well sell their No. 1 keeper, England man Robert Green, later this summer.

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