Keane’s views on a lack of Ipswich goals

IPSWICH TOWN: Roy Keane insists that it will not be the end of the world if his team does not end the season top of the scoring charts.

He leads his team into npower Championship action against second-placed Cardiff City at Portman Road tomorrow (kick-off 3pm) knowing that there is a problem in putting the ball into the net – but nothing that should prove terminal.

“Last season a big deal was being made of how many stoppage time goals we were conceding,” said Keane.

“This time it is a failure to score for two matches and a failure to score in the opening half of any game this term.

“Scoring eight goals in our opening six league matches is not ideal, and yes we will be looking at that statistic when we come to finalise the team for tomorrow.

“But Swansea did not hit the back of the net that often last season but still came close to reaching the play-offs.”

Keane remains relaxed about the situation with his team fifth in the table going into the Cardiff game.

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“We can change the fact that we have not scored in the first period tomorrow but if we don’t it will not be the end of the world.

“With all the problems we and the players have had to deal with since we returned for pre-season training we are okay.

“With the players who have gone out of the building if asked before a ball was kicked if we would be happy with a top half place I know we would have taken it.

“The secret is to stay focused and my players deserve an element of trust.

“Perhaps one or two need a rest – time out of the firing line, and I’m not going to shoot them.

“Maybe this squad does not have goals in its locker.

“But before Tuesday we were proving hard to beat – and this was serving us in good stead.

“Against Queens Park Rangers we gave away some bad goals, but after losing one game in eight I’m not going to chop and change for the sake of it.”

Keane’s squad has its fair share of academy produced players, but he says there are pitfalls to the system and that he benefitted from joining Nottingham Forest aged 19 after playing semi-professional football in his native Ireland.

“With our scholars we try and give them the right foundations and training and advice to give them the best chances of making the grade.

“But if I want to be critical you wrap players too much in cotton wool and they come through not street-wise enough.

“At the end of the day you need the hunger and desire to reach the top whichever way you come into the game.

“My young players are dealing with it very well, but you can always get side tracked. The good lads stay switched on to what is important.”

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