Earn your right to play - Keane

IT might be the Carling Cup, but Ipswich Town’s young players still have to “earn the right” to play for Roy Keane’s first team.

IT might be the Carling Cup, but Ipswich Town’s young players still have to “earn the right” to play for Roy Keane’s first team.

The Town boss will make changes for tonight’s Carling Cup third round tie at Millwall, who were blitzed 6-1 at home by Watford on Saturday.

And yet the Irishman is a firm believer that players have to stake their own claim for a place in the team, rather than be handed it on a plate.

That applies to the likes of Conor Hourihane and Luciano Civelli, who failed to impress for the Reserves last week and so will be over-looked for this evening’s trip to south London.

“Don’t think I’m just going to play lads in my first team, willy-nilly,” insisted Keane.

“This is a good club with a good tradition, and I’m just not going to give lads a game for the sake of it, because they did well six months ago, or they got an under-21 cap.

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“You’ve got to earn it. I’m not going to give lads a game at Millwall just because we think they fancy a day out in London.

“They have to do well in the Reserves, that’s why I go to most of the games. It’s important,” added Keane.

Hourihane has played for Republic of Ireland Under-21s in recent weeks, but is still yet to make his Town debut following his summer move from Sunderland.

Similarly, Civelli will not be in tonight’s squad, despite an outing for Reserves in his comeback from a long-term knee injury.

“I’m not going to play players who aren’t doing well,” confirmed Keane.

“He’s (Hourihane’s) been away with Ireland for two or three weeks with the under-21s and we haven’t really seen him yet. He’s got a lot to do.

“And Luca won’t be on the bench. He’s got a hell of a lot to do yet.

“It’s not up to me to give players hunger. It comes from within the player. It’s not my job to make players hungry,” added Keane.

However, the Irishman will rest several of his regular first teamers this evening. Strikers Connor Wickham and Jason Scotland are unlikely to start, while the midfield pairing of David Norris and Grant Leadbitter are also due to a rest.

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