Door still ajar for John

ROY Keane has left the door half-open, in terms of Stern John's future at Ipswich Town, but it seems likely that the loanee front-man is on his way back to Crystal Palace.

Carl Marston

by Carl Marston

ROY Keane has left the door half-open, in terms of Stern John's future at Ipswich Town, but it seems likely that the loanee front-man is on his way back to Crystal Palace.

During yesterday's pre-match press conference, Keane insisted that no official decision had yet been made on John's future.

The EADT revealed yesterday that Keane was proposing not to extend John's loan stay from Selhurst Park for the rest of the season. That was echoed by reports in the south London press.

Keane did not confirm this, but nor did he imply that the front-runner would be staying at Portman Road. It therefore appears as though the Trinidad & Tobago international will be returning to the cash-strapped Eagles, who are currently in the hands of the administrators, after today's game at Preston.

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"I have not really spoken to Stern (John) since the game the other night," insisted Keane.

"We have not officially made any decision. He is officially due to have his last game for us at Preston, he'll train with us today and will be in the squad.

"Things can change. If one or two of our other strikers were to leave then he'd certainly be staying.

"I'll be sleeping on it over the next 24 hours, and will let you know tomorrow night what we've decided to do," added Keane.

Despite lacking in match fitness, the much-travelled John has made eight appearances for Town, and has not finished on the losing side.

He was not eligible to play against his parent club in Town's 3-1 defeat at Palace on Boxing Day.

John scored his first goal for Town, and in fact his first goal for 13 months, in the exciting 3-2 victory over Coventry City a fortnight ago, but was substituted before the hour-mark at Southampton last weekend, and was an unused substitute against West Brom on Tuesday night.