Keane won't push colossal Connor

ROY Keane has vowed not to push Connor Wickham too hard, too early despite his massive potential.

ROY Keane has vowed not to push Connor Wickham too hard, too early despite his massive potential.

The 16-year-old netted twice in Ipswich Town's Carling Cup win at Shrewsbury Town last night and impressed once more with the maturity of his display.

But the Blues boss will resist the temptation to fully exploit his talent just yet and will allow him to develop.

Keane said: “Who knows how good Connor is going to be. That is up to him.

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“Connor has got potential but potential is one thing.

“He has to continue to work hard and he has shown a good attitude particularly in the role I have asked him to play.

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“For a 16-year-old boy to play against Shrewsbury, whose centre halves were outstanding, it was very mature.

“We have to manage him carefully. It is a big ask which is why I have brought in another striker.

“We can't put too much of a work load on him because physically he is still growing.

“We can be selfish and ask him to play each week but long term that would not be good for the boy or the football club.”

Wickham got the first and third Ipswich goals with Alan Quinn levelling in between after Jake Robinson and Dave Hibbert netted for the Shrews.

Shane Candsell-Sherriff took the game into extra time before the Blues triumphed in a penalty shoot out for the first time in nearly 18 years when they beat Luton in the ZDS Cup.

Keane added: “It was a good game for the neutral, perhaps not so much for the manager in terms of the goals we gave away.

“We should have won the game when we were 3-2 up and we should have killed the game off. That's what you get when you work with young players.

“It was a big ask for them going into extra time, particularly for someone like Alex Bruce who had played a full game on Sunday.”

Town fielded a team of mainly teenagers and Keane was delighted with their aptitude and attitude.

He said: “Cup competitions are about grinding out results and with the penalty shoot out it is great experience for the young players.

“We made hard work of it but a lot of big games are decided on penalty shoot outs. World Cups and European Cups, I'm not putting this game on a par with that, but it is part of the experience of winning game.

“When you get to a shoot out it is a bit of a lottery but players still have to step up and take a penalty, particularly in front of a good following. It was a good test and I feel the players came through with flying colours.”

Given the proximity of this tie to Sunday's league game with Leicester coming up on Saturday, Keane's decision to play the kids was vindicated and it is likely he will stick with them in the next round.

“We will see. It depends if we get to the final I will have a look at it.

“No seriously, the priority of this football club is to get promoted so there was no way I was going to risk some of the senior players and it was a good job because it would have been a big ask for them to play this after Sunday and another game on Saturday.

“If the young players continue to keep showing that desire, determination and character, then I will continue to play them.”

Keane also confirmed he would not be pursuing any interest in Dundee United midfielder Morago Gomis.

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