Roy: don't expect miracles

By Carl MarstonROY Keane has issued a stark warning to Ipswich Town fans - “Don't expect miracles.”The Town boss was referring to the potential quickfire impact of his new strike-force duo of David Healy and Daryl Murphy.

Carl Marston

By Carl Marston

ROY Keane has issued a stark warning to Ipswich Town fans - “Don't expect miracles.”

The Town boss was referring to the potential quickfire impact of his new strike-force duo of David Healy and Daryl Murphy.

Both men, who were recruited on loan from Sunderland for the rest of the season on Monday, will hopefully have major roles to play in Town's climb up the Championship table. But their presence might not be felt straight away.

Keane is expected to hand debuts to both front-men against Middlesbrough this afternoon, perhaps from the start, although neither of them have played many games this term.

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“We hope it doesn't take them six weeks to settle in, because of the position we're in and the amount of games we have left,” insisted Keane.

“They need to get a run of games under them, if not on Saturday then definitely next week.

“We will gauge how sharp they are, whether it be physical or mental. They haven't played much football over the last few months, but there might be a benefit in that. They'll be coming in fresh.

“Yet we can't expect miracles from the boys. We still have to create chances for them.

“We've been doing that, but we have had no one on a regular basis putting the ball in the back of the net,” added Keane.

An under-pressure Keane acted in the transfer market, in the final hours leading up to the deadline, by loaning out Tamas Priskin to QPR. This helped him to balance the books and so bring in Healy and Murphy.

No Town player has netted more than six goals this season. Skipper Jon Walters, who will again miss out because of a hamstring injury, and Jon Stead are joint top scorers with six goals.

This poor return, from his strike-force department, prompted Keane's call to action.

“We've had a problem with scoring goals all season, so hopefully David and Murph will offer us something a little bit different to go with the other strikers that we have,” continued Keane.

“After last Saturday I thought that we had to shake things up, so we got the couple of lads in and we hoped to get one or two more in as well, but that didn't happen.

“You can't try and drag players to your football club, they either come or they don't, and fortunately for us we got there just in time.

“I certainly hope that they are going to score goals for us, particularly David, whose more of a goalscorer than Murph, though Murph did get goals for me, especially in the Championship.

“Our top scorers have only got six goals, while you look at a lot of other clubs who have got players in double things, and that's held us back.

“I hope that they are eager to prove themselves. Brucey (Sunderland boss Steve Bruce) has brought in his own sort of players, like (Darren) Bent, who is a top, top striker.

“So there's no shame in them not making it in the Premiership. They have a point to prove and hopefully that will do us good, as well as giving the other players a lift,” added Keane.

Walters is the only outfield player currently injured, with the exception of long-term casualty Luciano Civelli, who is back in his native Argentina recuperating from a knee injury sustained towards the end of last season. Civelli is hoping to return for the start of the next pre-season.

Keeper Richard Wright continues to make good progress from his knee injury. He is three or four weeks ahead of schedule, and could return to full training in March.

Fellow keeper Brian Murphy, who is yet to make his Town debut following his move from Bohemians, is unlikely to be in contention before the trip to Peterborough on Tuesday week.

Town are unbeaten in their last nine home games. In fact, they have not suffered a defeat at Portman Road since the 4-0 thrashing dished out by leaders Newcastle United on September 26.

But Keane's men, due to last weekend's 2-0 defeat at Preston and several other results going against them, are still flirting with relegation. They are just one place and three points ahead of third-from-bottom Reading.

Meanwhile, Keane has hinted that centre-half Tommy Smith could be recalled early from his loan spell at Brentford. Smith signed an extension to his loan deal, to the maximum 93 days, only last week. But Town have a 24-hour recall clause in place.

Keane said: “We're happy for him (Smith) to stay at Brentford, but it wouldn't surprise me if he was back here soon, maybe over the next few weeks.”


IPSWICH TOWN: Lee-Barrett, Rosenior, McAuley, Delaney, Wright, Garvan, Leadbitter, Norris, Colback, Healy, Murphy, Stead, Counago, Peters, Balkestein, Edwards, Quinn, Martin, Wickham, McLoughlin.

MIDDLESBROUGH: Coyne, Naughton, McMahon, McManus, Wheater, Flood, O'Neill, Arco, Franks, McDonald, Miller, Lita, Grounds, Killen, Taylor, Hoyte, Bennett, Steele.

Referee: Mr Keith Hill (Hertfordshire)

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