Counago and Keane in dressing room bust-up

IPSWICH Town star Pablo Counago looks to have played his last game for the club after claims of a furious dressing room bust-up with manager Roy Keane.

The Spanish striker is understood to have been banished to training with the under-18s since the incident, which happened after Tuesday’s reserve team friendly against Tottenham Hotspur.

Counago, 31, was confronted by boss Keane in the aftermath of the 1-0 defeat at Portman Road, in which the forward was used as a second-half substitute.

The fans’ favourite was left out of the squad for Saturday’s season opener against Middlesbrough and now appears to have played his last game for the Blues.

Counago came on as a substitute after an hour in the Tottenham game, which a youthful Town side lost 1-0. Keane was not in charge of the team for the match, but is understood to have spoken to the players in the dressing room at the final whistle.

There is believed to have been an angry confrontation between Keane and Counago, witnessed by his team-mates, after which the striker has been completely frozen out of the first-team picture.

Explaining Counago’s omission from the squad at Middlesbrough, Keane appeared to question the player’s attitude, hunger to train and passion for the game. Teenagers such as Reggie Lambe, Jack Ainsley and Luke Hyam were selected ahead of him.

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In contrast, fellow striker Jon Stead, who was also a substitute in the reserves game last week, was in the 16-strong squad for the Blues’ game at Middlesbrough.

Stead came on as a second half substitute for Tamas Priskin, and scored a sublime goal to seal Town’s surprise win.

Counago has scored 62 goals for Ipswich in two spells with the club. He first joined from Celta Vigo ahead of the 2001/02 season and spent four years at Portman Road, becoming a firm favourite with fans.

He left in 2005 for Malaga and former Blues boss Jim Magilton re-signed the striker in 2007.

He turned down a move to Swansea at the beginning of last season and was used sparingly by Keane last season.

He still retained the ability to create excitement for the fans however - he scored a dramatic 97th minute winner against Coventry.

Keane has repeatedly made it clear that Counago is not part of his plans at the club.

An Ipswich Town spokesman last night declined to comment.