Keane set to start talks over new contracts
IPSWICH TOWN: Blues manager Roy Keane wants a new contract.
Not for himself at this stage, but for skipper David Norris, Gareth McAuley, Damien Delaney, Carlos Edwards and the other Town stars whose contracts expire at the end of the season.
Keane takes his Ipswich team to Fratton Park Portsmouth tomorrow (kick-off 3pm) for their npower Championship game against bottom-of-the-table Pompey seeking to extend an unbeaten six-match start to the season.
But he is already looking ahead and revealed: “A priority over the next few months is to get David Norris and other important players on to longer contracts.”
While Keane sees the importance of keeping his current successful squad intact, he is not concerned about his own circumstances.
His two-year contract runs out on June 30 and the excellent start to the season has led to reports that the Blues boss is already in talks over extending his stay at Portman Road.
He denied this saying: “I’m dead relaxed about signing a new contract at this stage. And the owner is aware of that.
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“I’m in a more comfortable position than I was last season and now have a group that I know is 100% focused and will not be sidetracked.
“There were players here last season that were not my cup of tea and there were some that I would have been happy to let go earlier.
“With a smaller squad there is more contentment now and a competition for places across the squad that helps to keep everybody on their toes.
“I think I’m a straightforward guy to work for – as long as the lads are on time and get stuck in and give everything all the time they are working.”
Keane allowed his players a few days off during the international break but kept in touch with his squad members on duty with their countries.
And he was not amused that Darren O’Dea did not return to Ipswich earlier after damaging his knee in training with the Republic of Ireland squad last Tuesday.
“Darren arrived back at the start of the week,” stormed Keane. “Five or six days after he suffered the injury.
“He went for a scan and then travelled to Armenia on Thursday when it looked as though he had very little chance of playing.
“He was never going to play against Andorra on Tuesday as the manager was bound to keep the same side, and it would have been more sensible to have had the lad back here earlier.
“I can understand Darren wanting to play for his country if there was a chance, but it’s frustrating that he gets injured while away without kicking a ball in earnest.
“It’s left us with a left back problem if Darren does not make it tomorrow, and one that might not have been if he had come back earlier.”