Celtic manager Neil Lennon has said that striker Leigh Griffiths will “be involved” in this week’s concluding Europa League group stage assignment.
The manager was speaking ahead of the match against CFR Cluj on Thursday, with celticfc.net quoting him as saying that the 29-year-old will feature in Romania after being omitted from the Betfred Cup final squad.
Will Griffiths ever get back to his best?
He said: “Leigh Griffiths will be involved. We were going to start with Odsonne (at Hampden) and Leigh would have been on the bench. However, when Odsonne couldn’t start, we decided to go with Lewis Morgan to start and bring Odsonne on.” [via celticfc.net]
Lennon added that Odsonne Edouard is unlikely to play in that fixture, though, and is expected to be preserved for the Premiership game against Hibernian on Sunday, saying: “We’ve just got to be careful with him in terms of the Cluj game and we’ll maybe just set our sights on him for Hibs next week.” [via celticfc.net]
With Celtic already assured of top spot in Group E prior to the game in Cluj, it makes perfect sense for Lennon not to take any chances with players carrying injuries and to give game-time to those who haven’t featured much this season.
With the Frenchman scoring 13 goals in 26 games this season, it is understandable why Lennon doesn’t plan to risk him in an inconsequential fixture and instead have him fresh for the weekend’s Premiership action.
Griffiths, meanwhile, has come on as a substitute in the last three league games, as well as making a brief appearance off the bench in the previous European match against Rennes. [via TransferMarkt]
He has only started four matches this season, the last of those against Dunfermline in August, and the game in Romania seems the perfect opportunity to give him a chance from the start, with nothing riding on the outcome of the match against CFR Cluj from a Hoops perspective.
Griffiths has not played much football this season due to a lengthy hamstring injury but has still managed three goals in 381 minutes of game-time (one every 127 minutes), so he could fancy his chances of scoring against a CFR Cluj team who have conceded six goals in three previous meetings with Celtic this term.
If he can manage that, he could then glean the confidence to push for further first team inclusion and perhaps challenge main centre-forward Edouard for a place in the side.
Celtic fans, do you want to see Griffiths starting against CFR Cluj this week? Can he forge his way back into the starting line-up regularly? Have your say by commenting below!
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