Keane doesn’t rule out losing rising star this season

IPSWICH TOWN: Roy Keane does not rule out a move away from the Blues this season for hot-shot prodigy Connor Wickham.

The Blues manager, who expects to bring in a loan signing next week, was delighted that club owner Marcus Evans and chief executive Simon Clegg turned down ‘big money’ bids for the 17-year-old from Premier League clubs during the summer.

But he is realistic enough to know that it might be difficult to hold on to the striker when the January transfer window opens.

“We are aiming for promotion this season,” said Keane, who spent a few days in the sun with his family during the international break. “This is the bottom line.

“So it was important that we held on to Connor.

“The decision to do so gave an important message to our fans.

“Despite a number of players leaving there has not been a big sale on at this club, and offers for other important players have also been turned down.

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“In Connor’s case there might be a degree of thinking about the player being an investment for the future, and I don’t know what will happen in January when we could receive a bid that the owner sees as acceptable.”

Wickham is now training with the first team as he recovers from an ankle strain he suffered in pre-season and he could feature in next Wednesday’s reserve match at Colchester United.

“We all feel better to have Connor back with us on the training ground and he’s not changed since he started making headlines. He’s a good kid whose being well looked after.

“It’s up to the owner whether he accepts offers or not with Jon Walters for example a player I didn’t want to see go. But it was clear that he wanted to go, and the fee was one that the owner saw as acceptable.

“The owner is an intelligent man and I have no trouble with him making these decisions.

“The one stipulation I have is that I am kept in the picture.”

Keane, who was pipped by QPR’s Neil Warnock for the Championship August manager of the month after being nominated with Dave Jones and Kenny Jackett, is looking to consolidate his equal top position with a good result at bottom-placed Pompey.

“The aim is to stay in the top six or seven and take it from there,” he said.

“Both QPR and Cardiff have bigger squads than us so we need a bit of luck injury-wise.

“Talks are taking place with a Premier League club over taking a player on loan and it is looking positive at the moment so hopefully something will happen next week.

“There is one area that we need strengthening and if this move goes through it will sort out that issue.”

Young defender Seb Dunbar has had his contract extended until January after initially signing a short term one to September.

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