Who’s next for Town?

Who will replace Roy Keane as manager of Ipswich Town?

The new man’s first priority will be to rescue Town from their current tailspin and move them away from the Championship’s relegation zone. Then, and only then, can there be any talk of play-offs and promotion – and that would be next season at the earliest.

Whoever gets the job will realise how high expectations are. Historically, Ipswich fans expect their team to be competing against the very best in the top-flight. With Marcus Evans’ money, the Premier League football should be more than just a pipe dream.

So, who are the candidates?

Bookies’ favourite is Chris Hughton, the likeable former Newcastle manager who was so unceremoniously sacked by the Toon a few weeks ago. Others in the frame include Paul Jewell, the former Bradford, Sheffield Wednesday and Derby manager, who is currently without a club.

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Perhaps a dark horse is the current Doncaster boss, Sean O’Driscoll, who has done such a good job at the South Yorkshire club. Very low-profile, he would certainly be very different to Roy Keane in that respect. Alan Curbishley’s name will be mentioned, as always, but he seems a very long-shot, as does Premier League veteran Sam Allardyce.

Whoever it is, it seems certain that the appointment will be announced within hours, just as Roy Keane was unveiled 24 hours after Jim Magilton was sacked.

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Whoever gets the role, they know they have a tough job. But it’s also a terrific job. The pedigree is unrivalled, with the club producing the national team’s two most successful managers.

And, although the Cobbold era is long gone, current owner Marcus Evans has shown he is prepared to be patient, as he was with Keane for far longer than most chairmen would have been.

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