Keane's men united

IPSWICH Town boss Roy Keane has recognised that this season is going to be a “long, tough battle.”

Carl Marston

IPSWICH Town boss Roy Keane has recognised that this season is going to be a “long, tough battle.”

No wins in eight league games, and just four points collected, is not the start that everyone at Portman Road was hoping for, or expecting.

There are signs of hope, as reflected by some of Town's attacking enterprise during Saturday's 3-3 draw at Doncaster, but it is likely to be a gradual rather than a sudden transformation.

“We're a new team and it will take time. But we have spirit and unity, and we are ready for the long, tough battle ahead for us,” insisted Keane.

“Some of our play was very encouraging, especially going forward. I brought on the substitutes early to freshen it up, and they did just that.

Most Read

“All the substitutes (Jack Colback, Tamas Priskin and Jaime Peters) played a big part. They all impressed.

“But it's going to be one of those seasons when it's going to be a long battle, and we're going to have to give some players the benefit of the doubt as they settle into the football club, both on and off the pitch.

“We have a long, long way to go at the moment. We have to be patient, and by that I mean over the next few months, not just the next few weeks,” added Keane.

Town have only kept one clean-sheet in their first 10 league and cup games this season, and the defence again leaked three more at Rovers.

The Irishman recognises that his team has to defend better as a whole unit, rather than just focusing on the back four.

“We gave bad goals away. Usually when you score three goals away from home, you expect to win,” explained Keane.

“The spirit is good, and we came back twice, but it seems that we need to have a setback to get us going. With the exception of Nottingham Forest (when Town scored after just 42 seconds), we have been slow off the blocks.

“Overall I thought we had the better chances. Being 3-2 up with just five or 10 minutes remaining, we should have won.

“There were a lot of encouraging signs. Tamas Priskin scoring his second goal for the club was one of these, and he'll be pushing for a start next week.

“Goals change games, and it helped that we were shooting towards our supporters in the second half.

“I also thought we had two good penalty shouts. Pulling someone's jersey seems to be OK these days. I don't know whether they've changed the rules in the last couple of weeks?

“We've got to keep battling away and do it for ourselves. No one is just going to hand us a win.

“We are well short of the Newcastles, Middlesbroughs and West Broms at the moment,” conceded Keane.

And the Town boss was not very amused by the sensational 85th minute equaliser from his former Manchester United team-mate, Quinton Fortune.

“He never scored a goal like that when I was with him at Manchester United, not even in training. I will be having a word with him about that in a minute!” added Keane, tongue-in-cheek.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter