Celtic winger Mohamed Elyounoussi is in contention to make his comeback from injury tonight as the Hoops continue their Premiership programme.
As noted by the Daily Record, the Norwegian is available for the trip to Fir Park to take on Motherwell, having been sidelined for the best part of three months with a foot injury. Defender Jozo Simunovic also returns to the squad after injury.
The Daily Record added that Neil Lennon will be without Jeremie Frimpong, Hatem Abd Elhamed, Nir Bitton and Mikey Johnston due to various injury problems.
Elyounoussi injured his foot in November while on international duty with Norway (as per Daily Record) and has not taken to the pitch since the Betfred Cup final win over Rangers. That knock came at a time when the 25-year-old was enjoying a purple patch of form during his first two months at Celtic, having joined on loan from Southampton towards the end of the summer transfer window.
The winger had been in excellent form for the Hoops prior to that foot injury, with seven goals and six assists in his first 12 games for the club. He had a very fruitful run of games in late October and early November when he struck six goals in five matches in all competitions, hitting braces against Ross County in the Premiership and Hibernian in the Betfred Cup. [via TransferMarkt]
The loss of Elyounoussi was offset by the return of Johnston from a three-month injury layoff, with the 20-year-old scoring and assisting in his first two games back in action at the start of December. Now, in a case of role reversal, the younger left winger has been sidelined with a suspected knee ligament injury incurred in last week’s win at St Johnstone just as Elyounoussi is ready to take to the pitch again.
In the absence of both left wingers for last Sunday’s trip to Hamilton, and with Scott Sinclair and Lewis Morgan both leaving Celtic during the January transfer window, Lennon went with a 3-5-2 formation that saw Greg Taylor adopt a roving wing-back role.
Elyounoussi’s return to fitness could hardly have been better timed for Celtic, with Johnston set to face a lengthy spell out of action and two left wingers sold in January. The Norwegian may need a bit of time to regain the fine form that he had shown in the autumn, although he could take heart from how fellow winger Johnston made an immediate impact upon his return from injury in December.
The 25-year-old’s availability also affords Lennon the option of reverting to his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation with Elyounoussi on the left wing now that he finally has a natural fit for that position, following Sunday’s experimentation with Taylor as a left wing-back.
Celtic fans, are you glad to see Elyounoussi in contention to feature tonight? Do you think he will rediscover the form he had shown prior to his injury? Comment below with your views!
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