Sutton Losing Barca Battle

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Byline: STEPHEN MCGOWAN

CELTIC striker Chris Sutton looks to be losing his fight for fitness ahead of next week's critical UEFA Cup return with Barcelona in the Nou Camp.

Parkhead assistant manager John Robertson presented a bleak prognosis yesterday and also revealed that key defender Stanislav Varga remains a cause for concern.

Both players will miss tomorrow's league visit to Hibernian and Robertson conceded that question marks still hang over the pair's chances of being ready for Thursday night.

Club doctor Roddy McDonald has left the players in the hands of physio Tim Williamson as he travels to the U.S.A with long-term absentee Shaun Maloney to see a knee specialist. But nothing less than a significant improvement will see Sutton partner Henrik Larsson up front in Catalunya, after Robertson revealed:

'Chris we will take day to day as we have in the last couple of weeks.

'It's a slow thing. We would probably have liked to have seen more progress early, but we will give Chris every possible chance to play.

'His recovery is very gradual - but if Chris Twice the worry: doubt surrounds whether Chris Sutton and Stanislav Varga, inset, will be fit to face Barcelona Sutton could play, then I know he would definitely want to. We just have to hope and keep our fingers crossed for him.

'Stan is not going to make it on Sunday and again it's a case of wait and see till next week.'

In recent games, O'Neill has experimented with different players in a bid to find a winning formula for the Nou Camp, should Sutton need more time.

If there is even a slight chance of gambling on the towering striker however, then Robertson insists Celtic will take it - so important is the Player of the Year contender to the club's chances of reaching the last eight of the UEFA Cup. …