I’d rather have our good team spirit than a 40-man squad - Keane

IPSWICH TOWN: Roy Keane today put his side’s successful start to the new season down to the spirit in the Portman Road camp.

And with a �750,000 offer for striker Jason Scotland said to have been agreed by Wigan Athletic, the Blues boss is happy that the Trinidad and Tobago international will provide the ‘character’ that he seeks in new players.

Away wins at Middlesbrough and Exeter with six goals and having gone behind in both games has put the Blues on the road to prosperity again.

And while stories and rumours circulate questioning the atmosphere at the Town training ground with the Pablo Counago alleged ‘dust up’ the latest example, Keane insists that the togetherness of the squad is now paying dividends.

With injuries ravishing the club and having played 30 minutes extra time at St James Park on Tuesday night, Saturday’s Championship encounter with Burnley, who were exempt from a midweek Carling Cup match, will be a tough examination.

Scotland is said to be set to discuss terms - with Keane looking to add to his squad before the Burnley game against a side relegated from the Premier League last term - with the pursuit of Cardiff’s Ross McCormack also believed to be gathering pace and a couple of loan deals in the offing.

“But if that doesn’t happen I am happy with what I’ve got,” said Keane.

Most Read

“I can only start with 11 players against Burnley, and give me spirit over a 40-man squad any day.

“There is spirit and energy in the camp, and quality.

“We showed this at times last season when there were some plus points despite our disappointing season, but we did not have a cutting edge – a player scoring 20 goals or so would have made all the difference.

“We have some good lads and if they continue to give it a good go that’s all I can ask and I’ll be happy with that.

“Youngsters are being asked to play, and they have not let me down.

“But 18 is not being young any more in football terms.”

Keane is not getting excited about his start - with Exeter now having failed to win in their last 21 League Cup games.

“We we have just won two games of football. There are 45 league games to go and the good teams are the ones that can build on victories and become consistent.

“Our aim is a top-six league place, but we won’t win the Carling Cup.

“We want to stay in the competition as long as we can though, although we didn’t really want an extra 30 minutes to play.”

Gareth McAuley plus the two players who were with the Hungarian squad this week – Marton Fulop and Tamas Priskin - are likely to be available to play against Burnley with skipper Jon Walters expected to have recovered from his second viral infection inside a month.

Keane estimates that Mark Kennedy – hamstring – will be out for up to three weeks but Carlos Edwards (groin) could be back in 10 days.

“On hindsight we should perhaps have taken Mark off with 10 minutes to go at Middlesbrough,” added Keane.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter