Celtic are expecting to allow Moritz Bauer to return to Stoke City at the end of the season, Football Insider understands.

The right-back, 28, has spent the campaign on loan at Parkhead as one of three right-backs in Neil Lennon’s squad.

A Celtic source has told Football Insider that Lennon is making up his mind over which of the club’s loanees he would like back and is set to recommend the club do not activate their option to buy Bauer.

That was included in the season-long deal that brought him from the Championship club at the end of last August.

The six-times Austria international has dropped behind Jeremie Frimpong and Hatem Abd Elhamed in the right-back pecking order.

But it is Lennon’s use of a 3-5-2 formation to allow him to pair Leigh Griffiths with main man Odsonne Edouard that has limited Bauer’s chances of even making the matchday squad.

James Forrest has regularly been used in a wing-back position on the right side and this system has seen Bauer demoted.

It is also not ideal for Elhamed, who is also a more orthodox defender like his Austrian rival.

By contrast, it suits the more attacking qualities of rising star Frimpong, who has made such an impression since joining from Man City.

The 19-year-old has emerged as a big fans favourite after developing more quickly than Celtic’s coaches had expected.

Bauer was brought in to bolster the squad as a short-term solution and has made nine starts among 13 appearances in all competitions this season.

In other Celtic news, it can be REVEALED that big-money 2019 signing is set for crunch talks about QUITTING the club.