Michael O'Neill has hinted that Moritz Bauer's future may lie away from Stoke City with the defender currently on loan at Celtic.

The new Potters boss watched his side lose 2-1 at home to Blackburn Rovers at the weekend.

He was quizzed at the prospect of potentially bringing players back to the Bet365 Stadium with his current side languishing in 23rd place in the Championship.

Jason Denayer taught Virgil van Dijk how to defend at Celtic, claims ex-boss Ronny Deila

But the Northern Irishman suggested that a number of players - including Bauer - may be allowed to leave permanently once he settles in and evaluates his squad.

"There’s different types of loans," O'Neill told Stoke Sentinel.

"Harry Souttar’s and Verlinden’s loans are very different from Wimmer’s and Bauer’s loans.

The Betfred Cup final is too close to call - but the Celtic and Rangers defences will decide the outcome

"Players on loan from a development point of view we have to watch very closely because we believe they have an awful lot to offer the football club.

"But players out on loan for other reasons, possibly their future lies away from the club and we have to focus on those we believe have a future at the club."

Bauer joined Celtic on deadline day on a season-long loan but there is an option for the Hoops to sign him permanently.