Keane tracks 15-goal ace

IPSWICH Town manager Roy Keane is burning the midnight oil in his quest to sign a proven goalscorer before tomorrow's loan transfer deadline.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town manager Roy Keane is burning the midnight oil in his quest to sign a proven goalscorer before tomorrow's (THUR) loan transfer deadline.

The odds are that he will get his man and be able to reinforce his strike force for Sunday's Coca-Cola Championship visit to Cardiff City.

While Keane has been continually looking to strengthen his squad, his search for a front man has intensified with a lack of goals in recent matches - just six in the last seven matches.

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If he fails to attract a newcomer, Keane will have to wait until the full transfer window re-opens on January 1.

And if the goals continue to prove evasive the Blues could be in serious relegation bother by then.

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Keane has been knocking his head against a brick wall with Premier League clubs over loaning out suitable players, and Town's second-from-bottom position does not help his search.

There is the added dilemma that Town owner Marcus Evans might not wish to dig too deeply into his pockets again after providing the wherewithal to bring in Lee Martin and Tamas Priskin for around �3.7million.

“Teams that get promoted to the Premier League have a player who scored 15 to 20 goals,” said Keane. “This is something we have been missing.

“Someone like Cardiff's Michael Chopra will score goals every day at Championship level, and he was a great player for me when I was manager at Sunderland.

“He was already sorted with a move to Cardiff when I joined Ipswich last April.

“Strikers win you games, and this why they cost so much money. It can cost �5million to bring in a player to score heavily at Championship level. At Premier League level you are talking around �12million.”

Ipswich's next game is against Cardiff at their new stadium on Sunday (kick-off 3pm) the match being put back a day because of a rugby union international in the Welsh capital the day before.

Already four points away from safety at the foot of the table, a failure to accrue points at Cardiff and then Bristol City in their following game could present Ipswich with serious relegation problems.

The loss of on-loan keeper Asmir Begovic back to Portsmouth this week is a huge blow after the Bosnian international provided a presence between the posts that resulted in increased confidence among the back four and just four goals - and no defeats - in his six games.

If his team is going to start leaking goals again it will make it even more important that he puts right the current impotency in front of goal.

Having netted just 17 times in 17 league matches, it is a problem that Keane has to solve - and quickly.

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