Three star boost in January

THE transfer window reopens in January, but Roy Keane should have three "new faces" at his disposal without even having to dip into the market!

Carl Marston

THE transfer window reopens in January, but Roy Keane should have three "new faces" at his disposal without even having to dip into the market!

Keane yesterday hinted that one or two new signings might arrive in the new year, but only if one or two of his current squad left Portman Road.

And the Ipswich Town boss has the luxury of knowing that three additions to his squad will be available to him, without lifting a finger.

Long-term injury victim David Norris is scheduled for a return to the team in the new year, while keeper Brian Murphy will be eligible to play when his new contract kicks in next month, and striker Kevin Lisbie is also coming back from his loan spell at Colchester.

Midfielder Norris continues to make progress from a knee injury, incurred during the opening day defeat at Coventry City. His return is an exciting one, both for Keane and Town's loyal supporters.

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"We had a practise game on Wednesday, and David Norris did well,"

revealed Keane.

"But he's been out for a long time and it won't be just a case of him returning to the starting line-up.

"Unfortunately, there aren't any reserve team games over the Christmas period, but he should be back at least travelling with the squad soon.

"I'm looking at David to return in the new year, and it will be great to have him back in the team," added Keane.

Ex-Bohemians keeper Murphy was at Portman Road this week, getting used to his new surroundings. He is set to contest the No. 1 spot with Arran Lee-Barrett next month.

"Brian (Murphy) is looking good. He's had his break over in Ireland,"

continued Keane.

"He's a very fit lad, but he needs the next two or three weeks as a pre-season. He'll be available for selection in January.

"Arran (Lee-Barrett) has done well for us. He hasn't had that much to do, but he's been outstanding when he's had to do something.

"He's striving for a new deal (current one expires next month), and I'm pleased for him. I like him. He trains well, and he doesn't cause me any trouble, which I like!

"He's doing himself no harm at the moment," added Keane.

Lee-Barrett has so far kept clean-sheets in his first two starts for Town, at Bristol City and against Peterborough, after Richard Wright suffered a long-term knee injury in the previous game at Cardiff.

Meanwhile, the Lisbie saga rumbles on. Colchester United are interested in signing the 31-year-old striker on a permanent basis next month - he has scored 10 goals for the Essex club during his current loan stay.

But Keane insisted yesterday: "Aidy Boothroyd has not phoned me about Kevin Lisbie. I have had no missed calls.

"These managers just need to pick up the phone. They're quoted as saying that they're interested in my players, but they don't ring me.

"Kevin will be back in January. I'll have bet with you!"

With regards to more new players, Keane explained: "I have one or two players in mind to bring into the club in January.

"But then I'm sure every manager has their wish-list.

"However, I have so many players so I have to balance it. One or two will have to go, because I also have one or two more coming back from injury.

"It all depends on whether other clubs come in for a player. It's not as straightforward as us just deciding to let a player go."