Keane gives his players a ‘no slacking’ reminder
IPSWICH TOWN: Blues manager Roy Keane today gave his players a ‘no slacking’ warning as they prepared for tonight’s npower Championship game against leaders Queens Park Rangers at Portman Road (kick-off 7.45pm).
Both sides go into the match unbeaten and third-placed Town will overtake the Londoners if they can gain three points from an encounter that will surely draw a 20,000-plus crowd.
Keane has been pleased with his players’ attitude and performance levels as they have started the campaign with five wins and two draws from five league and two Carling Cup games.
But typical of the man he will ensure that the tempo does not slack – when good showings tonight and against second-placed Cardiff City at Portman Road on Saturday can put his side in a strong early season position.
“I will not fall into the trap of leaving things be if changes need to be made,” said Keane.
“There were one or two players on Saturday who were not at their earlier levels and they know about it!
“It is common sense to start with the same players when they deserve the opportunity to continue in the team.
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“But if there is any sign that just because we’ve enjoyed a good opening six weeks that we have achieved something it will be dealt with.
“We can’t afford any slacking off mentally both in training and during matches.”
If Keane does make unforced changes tonight, Andros Townsend is now available after suspension and could find a way back into the team on the left hand of midfield.
But the Town boss emphasises that with the team having done well to be third in the table, getting into the side will not be easy.
“We have players back from injury now, but it will hard for them to get into the team,” stressed Keane.
“That is a good thing, and if we upset one or two players along the way then that’s how it will be.
“If we play like we did in the opening halves against Bristol City and Portsmouth then Rangers have it in them to punish us. We need to start tonight’s match brighter.”
Keane has praise for central defender Gareth McAuley, who was stripped of the captaincy this time last year and found himself out of the team.
“To be fair to Gareth he was injured during the summer of 2009 and the defence and midfield is now a lot more settled.
“He’s a good player and he needed time to get up to speed and the daft goals we gave away last season early on were not all down to him.
“I’m delighted with him, and with Tommy Smith beside him and Luke Hyam in front it’s proving a nice little triangle.”