High five - Roy salutes squad's quintet

IPSWICH Town boss Roy Keane today picked out his five just men.Skipper Jon Walters, Grant Leadbitter, David Norris, Stern John and Jon Stead are the players that he expects to base his selections around.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town boss Roy Keane today picked out his five just men.

Skipper Jon Walters, Grant Leadbitter, David Norris, Stern John and Jon Stead are the players that he expects to base his selections around.

The four-time winner with Manchester United takes his Championship team to League One Southampton tomorrow (kick-off 3pm) in the fourth round of the FA Cup.

He's looking for his key players to play a leading role as Ipswich look to continue their revival after the club's worst start to any season.

Just one defeat in 15 games is an ideal scenario for a decent cup run, and Keane says that he is travelling to the south coast confident of making further progress.

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He has Walters, Leadbitter, Norris and John at his disposal, but Stead is serving the last game in his four-match suspension after being sent off at Crystal Palace on Boxing Day.

“It is no coincidence that we lost at Palace when Jon Walters and Grant Leadbitter were not in the team suspended and when Jon Stead was shown a red card,” said Keane.

“And it is no coincidence that our performances have improved since David Norris returned to fitness.

“And it is no coincidence that we are averaging three goals every home match since Stern John arrived on loan from Crystal Palace.

“We put ourselves under more pressure by not scoring enough goals, but we have improved on that.

“Stern has scored his first goal for us, Pablo Counago netted a superb goal at the weekend and Jack Colback is scoring regularly. This has been a bonus for us.”

Keane had particular praise for Walters, who he says is good enough to win his first senior Republic of Ireland cap.

“How Jon is not playing in the Premier League I do not know,” said Keane.

“He trains well and he's got a good attitude.

“He set two of the goals up last weekend and he's been outstanding and a really good leader for us.

“We're very lucky to have him and he's a very, very important player for us.

“It's not just what happens on a Saturday. It's what happens during the rest of the week. He's a pleasure to work with.

“People lead in different ways. Jon leads in terms of his attitude in training, the way he speaks to people, showing respect to the staff, and his never-say-die attitude.

“If he keeps performing as he has been then an international cap will follow.”

Talking about Norris, Keane stressed that he would not ask the midfielder to play three games in eight days next week as the 28-year-old recovers fully from a serious knee injury.

“It will be a preventative measure as much as anything,” added Keane, who plans to make a long-term decision on John after next Tuesday's home Championship game against West Brom.

“He has got two weeks more of his loan and we are looking at the situation every day.

“I plan to make a decision after the West Brom match, and a loan extension will have to be to the end of the season.”