‘Burnley will be hardest so far’ - Keane

IPSWICH TOWN: Blues manager Roy Keane today predicted that tomorrow’s Championship game against Burnley at Portman Road (kick-off 3pm) will be the hardest game so far of the season.

Keane’s side will be seeking to record their third successive win this season having played exceedingly well to win 3-1 at Middlesbrough last Saturday and then dug deep among their resources to reach the second round of the Carling Cup with a 3-2 win at League One Exeter after extra time on Tuesday.

“We did well at the Riverside and I never thought for one second that we would get beaten by Exeter,” said Keane.

“Being at home and against a side that was relegated from the Premier League at the end of last season will bring its own pressures,” said Keane.

“It will be hardest match so far but one that we of course looking to win.

“We are going to lose matches this season - there is no doubt about that because that is the nature of the Championship.

“I found out a lot about my players on Tuesday including those who were not there.

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“And I could find out more tomorrow.”

It took Ipswich until October 17 last season to collect six league points - all draws - and they could will reach that total with a victory tomorrow.

Senior Ipswich fans will recall early season encounters with the Lancashire club in 1961/62 when the Blues lost a titanic game at Turf Moor 4-3 in their opening away game after reaching the First Division for the first time.

Seven days later the teams met on Suffolk soil with Town winning another epic contest 6-2 to set themsleves on their way under the management of Sir Alf Ramsey to win the Division One title against all the odds.

Gareth McAuley did some light training yesterday and is earmarked to return to the side while Tamas Priskin and Marton Fulop returned from duty at Wembley Stadium with Hungary none the worse for wear.

“They may be a little disappointed that they did not get more action against England, but I for one are pleased they were left out of the starting line-up,” said Keane.

Jaime Peters and Tommy Smith are expected to return after being ‘rested’ by starting on the bench at Exeter and it remains to be seen whether Jon Walters plays or not after telling Keane that he wants to move.

Luke Hyam is a big doubt with a shin problem while Troy Brown will miss out after twisting his ankle. Carlos Edwards and Mark Kennedy have joined Damien Delaney and Connor Wickham on the ‘long term’ injury list.

Burnley are set to make one change from the side that beat Nottingham Forest in their opening game.

Defender Michael Duff is rated 50-50 with a calf strain while Jack Cork has just returned from Chelsea on a season-long loan, but is likely to have to settle for a place on the bench.

Midfielder Chris McCann has been ruled out for at least six months after having a full reconstruction of his cruciate knee ligament yesterday morning.

Tomorrow’s likely squads

Ipswich Town: Fulop, Peters, McAuley, Smith, O’Connor; Hyam; Walters, Leadbitter, Norris, Townsend; Priskin, Murphy, Stead, Ainsley, Eastman, Murray, Healy, Lambe, Clark, Griffiths.

Burnley: Jensen; Mears, Bikey, Carlisle, Fox; Elliott, Alexander, Marney; Paterson, Iwelumo, Wallace, Grant, Thompson, Eagles, Edgar, Rodriguez, Cork, Cort, McDonald, Eckersley, Easton.

Referee: G Hegley (Hertfordshire)

Town home league record against Burnley

P16 W9 D6 L1 F34 A14

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