Keane craves a top back-up

ROY Keane has revealed that he wants his new assistant manager to have bags of experience, preferably from in the Premier League.

Ipswich Town boss Keane’s No. 1 target this summer is to recruit a No. 2 in time for next season.

The Irishman is desperate to make drastic improvements on last term’s dismal showing, when Town finished a lowly 15th in the Championship, and to this end he wants to bolster his back-room staff with an experienced arri-val.

Keane has been strongly linked with former Watford and Reading boss Brendan Rodgers, although he does not fit the bill of a manager with Premier League experience. Rodgers is a good friend of Keane, but his only managerial experience is at Championship level.

That’s why Keane perhaps has his sights set elsewhere.

“It’s got to be someone that is prepared to challenge me. A ‘yes’ man is no good to me,” insisted Keane, with ref-erence to his preferred choice of assistant.

“I’d like to think my staff would do that – and they have done - but I think I also need someone with vast experi-ence.

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“Someone perhaps who has managed at a high level,” added Keane.

Throughout last season, Keane often cut a lone figure standing outside or beside the Town dug-out, especially at away games.

An experienced No.2, whom he could turn to for advice during a game, could be invaluable.

“It’s something I have been thinking about for a while, even when I was at Sunderland, but I never got around to it,” continued Keane.

“It’s certainly an area I am going to look at over the next month or so. I’d like to have someone in by pre-season.

“It’s got to be the right person though. I have someone in mind, but I have to sit down with that person and see if they fancy it, see if they agree a deal. There’s a lot of work ahead yet.

“I think we have lacked that experience sometimes, in terms of on the pitch and in my backroom staff.

“There are plenty of good people out there who want to get back in the game. Whether they want to work with me, whether they want to work at Ipswich, whether they want to be an assistant manager, these are all the questions that need to be answered,” concluded Keane.

On the player front, Keane’s search for “streetwise” players might see him land no-nonsense midfield general, Shaun Derry.

The experienced Derry has rattled up an impressive 480 league appearances, more than 200 of them for his current club Crystal Palace, who are currently in administration.

Palace’s financial problems could result in several of their key players leaving Selhurst Park, and 32-year-old Derry could be one of these. Ex-Ipswich Town striker Darren Ambrose is another of those poised to leave Palace, with QPR or Middlesbrough the likely destinations.

Meanwhile, Connor Wickham is again set to play for England Under-17s in their European Under-17 Championship group match against Greece this evening (7pm kick-off).

Wickham impressed in England’s opening fixture, setting up the first two goals in a 3-1 win over Czech Republic on Tuesday night.

Greece were beaten 3-1 by Turkey in their first game. England play Turkey in their third and final group match on Monday.