Stokes urged to fill Hooper void

BY foxsports • July 28, 2013

Izale McLeod came off the bench to score twice against his former side and help MK Dons to a 4-1 friendly win over Barnet.

Conference side Barnet took the lead through Jake Hyde but McLeod, on the pitch for four minutes, headed home the equaliser before firing the Dons into the lead eight minutes from time.

In the last five minutes Mauro Vilhere turned the ball into his own net before Patrick Bamford completed the scoring.

Stokes was on target in a 2-1 defeat to Borussia Monchengladbach in a pre-season friendly at Parkhead on Saturday.

And the Irishman showed signs he could be the one to deliver the goals for the Hoops after striker Hooper sealed a move to Norwich.

Parker said: "It's up to him. He's there at the moment.

"Whether we bring someone in or not, I don't know.

"We've got a few options so we will see what happens. It's up to Stokes to stake a claim."

Boss Neil Lennon was in Sweden compiling a dossier on Elfsborg ahead of Wednesday's Champions League qualifier in Glasgow, leaving Parker to take the team against Monchengladbach.

Goals from Granit Xhaka and Branimir Hrgota sealed the win for the Germans, with Stokes netting from a free-kick after coming off the bench.

Parker said: "It was a good workout. They are a good side and they kept the ball very well.

"We had a young side out there and some players back from injury, which was good.

"I'm pleased with 2-1 because they are a very good side.

"The most important thing is that the players that were injured came through it, nobody got injured and we are ready for Wednesday night."

Charlie Mulgrew, Adam Matthews and Joe Ledley - who have been struggling with injury - were all handed game-time in the second half.

Parker added: "I was advised by the physio that Charlie was okay to come on at the start of the second half and, for the other two, just 30 minutes.

"They have come through it okay. It might be too soon for Wednesday. They could be in the squad but I don't know."

Celtic have been linked with Sunderland's James McClean and Porto winger Christian Atsu but Parker declined to confirm the Scottish champions' interest.

He said: "I've no idea. We've got options but I'm not going to say who they are.

"There are people that we like. Two or three would be good but that's down to the manager.

"We've got our sights on a few players and we will see what happens."