Keane: I love Blues fans' passion

NEW Ipswich Town manager Roy Keane is delighted that Portman Road will be packed for the visit of Coventry City in the Coca-Cola Championship tomorrow (kick-off 1.

Elvin King

NEW Ipswich Town manager Roy Keane is delighted that Portman Road will be packed for the visit of Coventry City in the Coca-Cola Championship tomorrow (kick-off 1.15pm).

But he says this is only the start, and that he wants to see the place thumping week-in, week-out.

Showing his mellow side with a relaxed and convivial press conference the legendary Irishman stressed his burning desire to get the Blues back into the Premier League at the earliest opportunity.

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“Selling a lot of extra tickets for tomorrow's game - and the increase in season ticket sales this week - is a big boost,” said Keane.

“But I want to see our fans having a good time and seeing us win football matches all the while.

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“I have discovered the passion that Ipswich fans have for their club, and people in the town couldn't have been nicer.

“But I am under no illusions, I will be judged on getting Ipswich back into the top flight.

“This is what I have been brought here to do, and it will be tough.

“We need to win home games starting tomorrow and we need to be fighting within the top five or six next season.

“We need to be in the mix.”

As Keane said earlier in the week he is not anticipating wholesale summer changes and he is meeting owner Marcus Evans and chief executive Simon Clegg next week to plan the summer route to take.

“I have identified what positions need to be strengthened,” added Keane. “And I have one or two targets, but I don't anticipate that many signings - perhaps two or three.

“Despite what some might think I only spent �5million in my first season at Sunderland, and it was in the Premier League where money needed to be spent - because we needed it.

“We have a nice foundation in our squad and I have been pleasantly surprised. I'll not be throwing money away.”

Keane has confirmed that he will sit down with every player out of contract next week and let them know where their future lies.

“We will continue to train next week, and there is a reserve game on Wednesday,” said Keane.

“I will be guided by the coaching staff - for those on loan - and from what I have seen, but there is no guarantee I'll get it right.

“And personal negotiations have to be successfully completed on those offered new deals.”

Town have 13 players out of contract including Alex Bruce, Tommy Miller and Matt Richards who are expected to feature tomorrow

“I was impressed by what I saw in the reserve game at Leyton Orient this week and all the kids did well including schoolboy striker Connor Wickham.

“It is important that we win tomorrow but one or two youngsters could come in.

“We had three chances at Cardiff and scored three goals, and were good when we didn't have the ball, which is something that will hold us in good stead next season.”

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