Chilled Town boss feels more at home
A NEW relaxed Roy Keane feels more at ease with his current crop of players.
And by contrast, the Irishman admits that the old Ipswich Town dressing room, from last season, did have one or two players who were not 100% committed to the cause.
Now, however, Keane knows what he is going to get from each and every player. That’s why he has no worries about how his team will perform against troubled Portsmouth at a noisy Fratton Park tomorrow.
“I’m a lot more comfortable with the players,” explained Keane.
“Obviously I’ve had a year working with them. I know what they are capable of, and not capable of.
“One or two players went out of the door that I still miss, but the club have made financial decisions, that took priority.
“However, there were also one or two players who left, who I felt had to leave the club. That’s the nature of football.
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“Sometimes players have to move on to re-invent themselves, or like Jon Walters get a big move to a Premier League team (Stoke City).
“What we have now is a group of players who I think are all 100% focused on doing well for Ipswich.
“They’re not being side-tracked by anything, not that I see anyway.
“There were players last year who felt they weren’t part of my plans, or I had players who I felt weren’t my cup of tea because of maybe their attitude to training,” added Keane.
There’s no doubt that Town have a slimmer squad, following all the summer departures, and also the current crop of injuries.
But more players in the squad does not necessarily mean it is a better squad.
In fact, Keane went on to suggest, during yesterday’s Portman Road press conference, that supporters are seeing a “different Ipswich” from last season.
He continued: “I know what I’ve got with this group of players.
“I know we’re going to give it a go this Saturday. We have always rolled our sleeves up this season.
“The fans travelling down (to Portsmouth) will know that they’re seeing a different Ipswich now.
“There’s a lot of energy and a lot of spirit, getting stuck in. It’s good.
“I made changes to my staff last year. I’ve got staff who are driven to get the club forward.
“There was also a lot of doom and gloom in pre-season, with matches and tours that were supposed to happen being cancelled, and also players going out of the door.
“But it’s created something amongst the players. They’ve got to do it themselves, with no expectations, and that kind of suits us.”
Keane even went on to compare his current Town squad, and their new-found strong mentality, with that of Wimbledon’s old ‘crazy gang’.
“Players were sold that we didn’t expect to be sold, but that’s created it’s own bit of togetherness,” said Keane.
“They’ve said to themselves - “this is it, you know. We haven’t got the biggest squad in the world and we’ve picked up a few injuries on top of that” - but it’s created a strange togetherness.
“Other clubs have done it before over the years, like your Wimbledons and Millwalls. They used to have it,” concluded Keane.