Roy shows faith

ROY Keane could well be poised to name an unchanged starting XI for the first time this season.

Carl Marston

ROY Keane could well be poised to name an unchanged starting XI for the first time this season.

The Town boss has yet to find a winning formula, but he was impressed with his side's performance during Tuesday night's 3-3 draw at Sheffield United, when two late goals denied them that elusive first victory.

Having made four changes for each of the last two games, against Newcastle and then the Blades, Keane is now considering a more settled look for today's crunch test at Barnsley.

“I thought all the players did reasonably well on Tuesday night,” insisted Keane.

“Some others might come back into the squad, like Damien (Delaney) and Colin Healy, while Connor Wickham did well for the Reserves the other day (scored two goals in a 6-4 win over Northampton).

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“But not many of the starting XI (from Sheffield United) did not do enough to play again.

“The signs are decent. Gareth (McAuley) did very well for us, and Carlos (Edwards) is looking sharper. He got another game under his belt.

“But no one is going to just hand us that win,” added Keane.

Town will definitely be without their skipper, Alex Bruce, who limped off with a groin injury during the first half of last weekend's 4-0 drubbing at the hands of Newcastle United.

Bruce sat out the midweek jaunt to Bramall Lane, and he will miss out on another trip to Yorkshire this weekend.

Keane revealed: “Alex Bruce has had a scan. There is still fluid on it, so he has no chance for this game.

“But hopefully these next two weeks (break for internationals) should be enough for him to get fit.”

The Town manager also gave an update on the fitness of midfielder David Norris, who suffered cruciate ligament damage during the second half of the opening day 2-1 defeat at Coventry City.

“David Norris travelled with the squad to Sheffield United to be a part of the banter. There was no other reason,” confirmed Keane.

“He has been told by his surgeon and physio that he could return by December, so I've told him that means November!”

Today's hosts Barnsley are currently three points clear of Town, thanks to their surprise 3-1 win over second-placed West Brom on Tuesday night.

The Tykes registered their second league win of the campaign, and their first at home, thanks to goals from Adam Hammill, Iain Hume and an own goal from Shelton Martis.

“They'll be looking forward to our visit, because they will be expecting to win with our form,” admitted Keane.

“They had a good win over West Brom in midweek, but we have a lot of good quality, especially going forward.

“However, if we keep making those mistakes then it will be another long afternoon for us.

“Of course it's an important fixture. I'm not going to say it's a six-pointer, but I'm not going to play it down either.

“This league can change very quickly. It's so important to get that first win.

“I think that the teams promoted this season, with the exception perhaps of Newcastle, will still end up losing eight, nine or ten games,” concluded Keane.

Town have so far lost five fixtures, with the other five all ending in draws.

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