Keane praises young strikers

ALTHOUGH he accepted there is still plenty to work on, Roy Keane picked out his strikers for praise after last night's 3-1 friendly win at Brentford.

Derek Davis

ALTHOUGH he accepted there is still plenty to work on, Roy Keane picked out his strikers for praise after last night's 3-1 friendly win at Brentford.

New boy Lee Martin and teenagers Connor Wickham and Jordan Rhodes all scored, with Ben Strevens netting for the Bees.

Martin started wide left but also moved up front and occasionally tucked into the hole behind the strikers.


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Keane said: “Lee has that intelligence in that role coming in from the left or playing up front. We encourage the players to play in spaces and he has scored one and might have scored another couple.

“He has great energy levels and gives us something different.

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“Jordan looks a natural scorer, which is encouraging, and he and Connor may be far from the finished article but the future looks bright for them.”

Town won an entertaining game ,but conceded a poor goal, and Brentford also made life uncomfortable at times but the Blues were ruthless up front. Keane said: “These games are absolutely priceless in terms of pre-season and I really enjoyed it.

“Without over-analysing it there are areas we need to improve on but the players' attitude was spot on.

“The average age of the goalscorers was about 19 and the difference was in the finishing.

“We might have scored a few more and they had a few chances to score more as well.

“They had opportunities particular at set pieces so there are areas we need to work on. We are trying different partnerships and we will look at more options at Waterford and then Cork. What I will be looking for, in the main, is for more players to get 90 minutes under their belts.”

Town go to the Republic of Ireland tomorrow and Keane plans to make changes.

“Jon Walters and Damien Delaney will not play on Friday.

“Shumi [Velice Sumulikoski] and Owen Garvan will probably play on Friday as I will have one team on Friday and another on Sunday.”

Injuries will also mean a couple of players missing out, although youngsters like Jack Ainsley and Reggie Lambe could benefit.

Keane said: “Pablo Counago and Ben Thatcher won't be with us. Pablo has done plenty of running but is not quite ready yet. Fingers crossed he will be playing for the reserves next week.

“He picked up the injury on the first day back but he has plenty of time to catch up.”

“Ben has joined in and we are also looking at him for next week.”

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