Blues were awe-struck by Roy

IPSWICH Town old boy, Wayne Brown, believes that Town's players may have been "in awe" of Roy Keane at the start of the season.

Carl Marston

by Carl Marston

IPSWICH Town old boy, Wayne Brown, believes that Town's players may have been "in awe" of Roy Keane at the start of the season.

But stalwart defender Brown, who has always been so grateful to Ipswich for giving him his first big break in football, reckons that Keane's men could still be play-off contenders this season.

Brown is hopeful of lining up for Leicester City against his old club on Sunday.

The Foxes are 13 points better off than Town, nestling in fifth spot rather than floundering in 19th place, but Brown is not fooled by appearances.

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"It does surprise me that Ipswich are so far down the table," insisted Brown.

"Roy Keane has spent a lot of dough, but as always it's not just about money.

"It's how the players react to the manager as a person, and Roy is such a massive character, with a massive presence in the game.

"Perhaps people were a little in awe of him, to begin with, which is why things didn't go well early on in the season.

"But they've got momentum now. He has built up a good team, blooding his own players.

"They're on a little run, and are climbing up the table," added Brown.

Centre-half Brown signed professional forms with Ipswich in 1996, having come up through the youth ranks at Portman Road. He stayed with the club until the end of 2002.

Since then, in addition to being part of one promotion with Town (in 2000), he has also celebrated promotions at Colchester United, Hull City and Leicester City.

So the 32-year-old knows what it takes to be successful.

"I wouldn't be surprised if Ipswich ended up in or around the top six by the end of the season," insisted Brown.

"This weekend will be a big challenge for us. They are on a high, but we have home advantage and we are full of confidence."

Brown has missed the last couple of games with a niggling injury, but he is raring to go against his old team on Sunday.

He was on loan at Leicester, from Premier League club Hull, during the second half of last season, which ended with the Foxes going up as League One champions. He signed permanently on a two-year deal last summer.

Town have lost just one of their last 13 games, but will again have to make do without joint leading scorer Jon Stead, who is set to serve the second of a four-match suspension.

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