Keane must make quick decisions on loanees
IPSWICH Town manager Roy Keane may have been able to put his feet up more than expected over the Christmas period.
But he now has plenty on his plate and the futures of five loanees to decide.
Two postponed Championship games left Town kicking their heels over the extended weekend, and they return to action at Coventry on Saturday looking to start 2011 in the way they want to continue in making it a much more successful year than the last six have been.
There is then the task of taking on the might of Arsenal and Chelsea in the Carling and FA Cups.
And in between Keane has to decide whether to keep Darren O‘Dea, Jake Livermore, Gianni Zuiverloon and Jack Colback.
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Their loan deals with Celtic, Tottenham, West Brom and Sunderland respectively are up soon, while the temporary deal with Plymouth’s Rory Fallon runs out later next month.
“I haven’t spoken to anyone yet about the loan players we have on our books,” said Keane.
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“You have to be respectful to their parent clubs, and I don’t know what our financial position is yet for the transfer window.”
But Keane must now start to act with time running out on the current deals.
His team to face Chelsea would ideally include a number of the loanees, but he could be without them with Plymouth perhaps not wanting Fallon to be cup tied even though he would still be at the club.
Keeper Brian Murphy and left-sided utility man Shane O’Connor will miss the cup games after the former broke his ankle in training last Thursday and the latter suffered a severe shoulder injury at the Playford Road training ground the following day.
For Murphy it will be a big blow to miss out on the Arsenal two-legged Carling Cup semi-final having played in every round up to this stage.
Twelve months ago Murphy suffered an ankle injury while warming up at Leicester City and he had to wait another month before he could make his Ipswich debut.
Keane is quick to point out that training conditions last week were fine thanks to efforts of head groundsman Alan Ferguson and his team.
“Conditions under foot had nothing to do with either injury,“ said Keane.
“We were playing on a good surface and Shane suffered a run-of-the-mill injury when he collided with Arran Lee-Barrett and Darren O’Dea when going for a loose ball.”
Keane has also got to decide how many of the 21 players whose contracts are up on June 30 he wishes to keep.
Discussions are continuing with two-year deals already offered to David Norris and Gareth McAuley.
Asked whether other senior players such as Damien Delaney and Carlos Edwards will also be offered terms, Keane said: “Of course, but that will take care of itself and without going into the ins and outs of it, the club has options to extend the deals of one or two boys like Brian Murphy.
“The issue will be the players whose contracts are up and we haven’t got an option on.
“We’re not just focusing on Gareth and David, there are other decisions to be made on the other boys.
“There are lots of contracts up in the summer, so there are going to be changes one way or another.”