Keane plays down importance of coming week

IPSWICH TOWN: By Saturday tea time next week, the Blues could be holding a healthy lead in the npower Championship.

By a quirk in the way the fixture list was compiled Roy Keane’s men face bottom of the table Portsmouth at Fratton Park today (kick-off 3pm) and then entertain the two teams currently level with them at the top of the table.

Queens Park Rangers visit Portman Road on Tuesday quickly followed by Cardiff City – Michael Chopra and all – four days later.

Three more good performances to add to the six they have produced so far this term and Ipswich would be sitting pretty

But Keane knows it is not as simple as that, and he warned:

“It’s not a defining week, as every game is important.

“We cannot look ahead to what’s round the corner, and as we stand at the moment we must just focus our attentions on the tough task of trying to beat Portsmouth.

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“We have given ourselves a chance of a having a good season wherever that might take us.

“We’ll have some good banter on the way down to Portsmouth and a nice meal and be prepared for the task in hand.

“But we have to face the fact that we are not as strong as Newcastle and West Brom were last season.

“I’m a dreamer and we can all look at what Blackpool achieved to take them into the Premier League.”

So it’s the one game at a time approach from Keane, who says that he is happy having young players on the bench despite their inexperience.

“If players feel they are above sitting on the bench it can breed negativity,” added Keane.

“With youngsters you get a hunger with substitutes delighted to be there and so keen to get any chance to play. They are all chomping at the bit.

“I’ve given a number of youngsters a chance to get a taste of the first team scene this season, and I need them.

“Unless the right club and the right manager comes in I will not look to be loaning them out.

“We are okay for numbers with our long term injury players getting back to training with the younger players at the club needed at training and for reserve games as well as coming into the first team squad.”

Keane is looking to bring in a Premier League loanee next week to fill what he says is the one remaining part of his squad that needs strengthening.

Of the senior players, Keane is delighted with striker Tamas Priskin’s form and sees him forging a successful partnership with Jason Scotland.

“After the frustration of sitting out the Hungarian game on Tuesday, Tamas will be glad to get a game under his belt. He’s a good player.

“He scored one goal and had a hand in the other, and with Connor Wickham coming back I’ll soon have options that I didn’t have last season.”

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