Keane: ‘Break will do us no harm’

IPSWICH Town manager Roy Keane is not complaining about having both Christmas holiday games postponed as he is an advocate of having a winter break.

He feels the extra ‘rest’ will prove beneficial with his side set to travel to Coventry City on Saturday afternoon and then entertain Nottingham Forest 48 hours later.

Town’s scheduled fixture at the Keepmoat Stadium against Doncaster Rovers this afternoon was called off after a 10.30am inspection yesterday with the pitch frozen solid.

This followed the late decision to call a halt to the planned home Championship fixture against Watford on Boxing Day afternoon.

“When you ask players to play four games in eight days you have to be very careful because injuries are going to happen,“ said Keane, who revealed on Christmas Eve that he was going to have to wrap a number of his key men in cotton wool over the festive period.

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“I have players who have been carrying knocks for a month or so and I knew they would not have been in a position to play in every one of those matches.

“It‘s not just physically that my players will benefit from a break.

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“They will get a boost mentally as well.

“Winter breaks give players a chance to recharge their batteries and having had a break, I think fans see a better quality of football when they return to action.

“I backed the idea of a winter break as a player and I do as a manager.

“The benefits are there in terms of rest and recovery for players and avoiding injury.

“It seems to work in other countries. Germany have a break and they say that it has a bearing in why they consistently do well in major tournaments.”

It did not take long to rule out any chance of playing at the Keepmoat Stadium today.

Rovers manager Sean O’Driscoll and director of football Mickey Walker were at the inspection with Walker commenting: “In all my years in football, I have not seen a playing surface as solid as this one.”

Both games are likely to be re-arranged midweek for February or March although there will be a vacant Saturday date at the end of January if clubs are eliminated from the FA Cup at the third round stage.

Town players trained yesterday and were planning to do more today with tomorrow scheduled to be a day off before preparations begin for the New Year’s Day visit to the Ricoh Arena.

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