Keane tips QPR and Cardiff for automatic places

IPSWICH TOWN: Roy Keane has written off any hopes the Blues might have of automatic promotion to the Premier League this season.

Town go into tomorrow’s npower Championship game against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground (kick-off 3pm) with their manager saying that a play-off place is their best bet.

If Ipswich fail to make a big impression this term Keane’s position at the club will be in doubt with his contract running out next June.

With 12 games gone – and after Town have managed just four points from their last five games – Keane sees the automatic places as being already secured.

After revealing that he was close to signing experienced midfielder Shaun Derry in the summer, Keane feels it is a big ask for the young members of his squad to overhaul the current top two.

“Queens Park Rangers and Cardiff City have the experience and should take the automatic places,” said Keane.

“A top two place was always going to be difficult for us.

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“Behind the top two will come a pack of clubs and this looks being hell of a battle.

“And we hope to be in the mix for a top six finish.

“If we can hang on in and build momentum for a strong finish – this is our best bet.

“Mind you three wins on the bounce and you can be up there, which is why I would never touch a coupon on the Championship – it is too risky a bet.”

Keane mentioned Middlesbrough, Portsmouth, Forest, Swansea, Watford and Norwich as likely to feature in the battle for a play-off place.

“Look at us we were desperate for a goal at Watford on Tuesday, and we brought on an 18-year-old and a 17-year-old striker.

“Other clubs around us have much more experience than that.

“I did not predict that I would lose as much experience as I did in the summer, but if we did it again I would not change the outgoings.

“There were lots of reasons why the likes of Jon Stead, Owen Garvan and Alex Bruce left, but at the end of the day they had plenty of games under their belts and I was unable to get similar replacements into the building.

“We are depending on loan market, and we have four and might get a fifth.

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