Keane target Wood transfer-listed

IPSWICH Town manager Roy Keane is set to renew his interest in Sheffield Wednesday central defender Richard Wood after the 24-year-old was placed on the transfer list.

Elvin King

By ELVIN KING

elvin.king@archant.co.uk

IPSWICH Town manager Roy Keane is set to renew his interest in Sheffield Wednesday central defender Richard Wood after the 24-year-old was placed on the transfer list.

The Blues boss was reported to be keen on Wood last summer, but when the transfer window closed the Owls were confident they could agree an extension to the player's current deal that runs out in June.

Wednesday are now keen to offload him and a deal is believed to be in the pipeline.

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Wednesday manager Brian Laws said yesterday: “We've been talking with him for weeks and weeks, and Richard and his agent think he should be the highest-paid player at this club.

“His demands are too great. There's no negotiating to be done. His demands are 'I want this or I'm going and I'll get it somewhere else.'

“Our decision has to be that we can't pay it. I'm very angry. Richard has said he wants to be at this club - but he demands something that he knows we can't pay.

“Why should we wait until January, when we know he can go free? Let's see what we can get for him as quickly as we can.

“He's replaceable. If I get the money I'll replace him - it's as simple as that.”

Town are looking for a commanding central defender with a view to a permanent deal in January. Coventry City are also believed to be interested.

Stoke City defenders Danny Higginbotham and Leon Cort, both 30, have also been linked with Town this week.

Keane has a few choices to make before pinning his team sheet on the Portman Road dressing room wall tomorrow for the Championship game against Derby County (kick-off 3pm).

He must decide who will replace the injured Gareth McAuley with Alex Bruce favourite to partner Tommy Smith at the heart of the defence.

Will David Wright stay at right back with Jaime Peters at left back where he ended last weekend's 1-1 draw at Plymouth.

Or will Keane start with Liam Rosenior again at right back with David Wright on the left?

Carlos Edwards and Grant Leadbitter look certainties for a midfield berth, but the likes of Alan Quinn, Liam Trotter and Lee Martin will be pushing Jack Colback and Peters for a starting place.

Jon Stead's well-taken goal at Home Park makes him a likely starter tomorrow alongside Jon Walters although Pablo Counago and Tamas Priskin cannot be discounted.

Keane also has to decide on who leads the side with Walters the favourite having kept the armband when Bruce came on last weekend.

Derby will be without ex-Town man Jay McEveley (fractured cheek bone), Miles Addison, Kris Commons and Kris Porter while the injured James Vaughan has returned to his parent club Everton.

Dean Leacock could be back in the squad after mumps and possibly Paul Green after foot surgery - with the possibility of a five-man midfield to try and stem the number of goals conceded.

Full back Paul Connolly was asked to play as a central defender against QPR last week with 'veterans' Robbie Savage and Paul Dickov in the starting line-up.

Tomorrow's likely squads

Ipswich Town: Begovic, Rosenior, Bruce, Smith, D Wright, Delaney, Peters, Balkestein, Edwards, Leadbitter, Quinn, Colback, Trotter, Martin, Healy, Walters, Stead, Counago, Priskin, R Wright.

Derby County: Bywater, Connolly, Moxey, Stoor, Barker, Hughes, Teale, Savage, Croft, Dickov, Hulse, Deeney, Livermore, Davies, Pearson, Buxton, Hendrie, Mills, Leacock.

Referee: Mr A Taylor (Cheshire)

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Town record against Derby at Portman Road

P31 W17 D7 L7 F54 A35

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