BRENDAN Rodgers has confessed that increasing his options up front will be his priority in January after Celtic were linked with a move for Aberdeen striker Bojan Miovski during the transfer window.

Rodgers declined to comment on reports that he was interested in North Macedonian internationalist Miovski, who was the Pittodrie club's joint top scorer last season with 18 goals, and stressed that he expected a lot of speculation about potential targets in the coming weeks. 

However, the Northern Irishman knows he is likely to lose Japanese internationalists Daizen Maeda and Kyogo Furuhashi as well as South Korean forward Oh Hyeon-gyu next month due to their involvement at the Asian Cup in Qatar. 

And he is hopeful of getting his business done early so that his new recruits can settle in their new surroundings during the winter break and make an immediate impact when play restarts. 

"I wouldn’t comment on any player," he said when he was asked about Miovski. "This is the period where agents throw out names and links so if I did it would be a long six weeks!

"There are certainly names and interest there. But we’ll have to wait and see. As a manager you’d always prefer to get them in earlier rather than later. But we have the winter break and won’t play until the middle of January. Clearly, the sooner the better.

"The work is under way for the guys who haven’t been playing. Obviously they’ll want to get out to play as quickly as possible. Our need for the squad is beside that.

"You first look to within the club and if there is anyone who can make that step into the first team. Then you look at if you bring someone in a permanent role, someone who can challenge the guys when they come back.

"Or are you bringing in a top class loan, who will be with you for that period? That is then about availability. You have to plan forward. We can control what comes in. It has to work for us."

Nat Phillips, the Liverpool centre-half who arrived on loan from Anfield in August, has not been able to establish himself in the Celtic first team due to the return of Cameron Carter-Vickers and the form of Liam Scales. 

But Rodgers has been happy with the contribution the defender, who is set to return down south when his temporary deal runs out in January, has made during his time in this country. 

He may, with Carter-Vickers having undergone an MRI scan on the hamstring strain he felt during the Hibs game on Wednesday night, give the Englishman a start in the cinch Premiership match against Kilmarnock on the artificial pitch at Rugby Park tomorrow. 

READ MORE: Brendan Rodgers confirms Japan interest in Celtic coach Harry Kewell

"Nat's an experienced player," he said. "He's very good in the air and attacks the ball well. In both boxes he's very strong. It's one of his key strengths. We'll see what we need to do.

"He came in on a short-term loan to help us in an emergency period and he's been fantastic since he's come in, his whole demeanour and behaviour around the place. He was injured when he first came in and the guys that have played have done really well.

"It's the one position in the field where I'm reluctant to make changes. And when I say one position I include two players because centre halves balance off each other. That fluency is important, other positions can change but in the two centre halves you'll make minimal changes.

"He's had some game time, he hadn't played for a long time before he came. He's trained consistently after getting over that early bit and he has contributed very well to the culture here."

Celtic lost 1-0 to Kilmarnock on the last occasion they played at Rugby Park in the Viaplay Cup back in August - but Rodgers believes his team has improved greatly since then. 

"In terms of the football aspect, the structure of the team is much better, more cohesive," he said. "The organisation, the mentality of the team, everything is a far cry from where it was. But that's what you would expect, that's what development is, you should improve as the season goes on."