New twist on keeper

IPSWICH Town manager Roy Keane has every faith in the ability of stand-in goalkeeper Arran Lee-Barrett to play his part in a crucial six-game December schedule for the Blues.

Elvin King

IPSWICH Town manager Roy Keane has every faith in the ability of stand-in goalkeeper Arran Lee-Barrett to play his part in a crucial six-game December schedule for the Blues.

But there are two options he has left up his sleeve if the keeper who was a regular in League One for Hartlepool United last season fails to come up trumps.

It the next half dozen matches go well Town will have a chance to make an impact on the top half of the Championship table in the New Year.


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If they go badly, the Blues will be set for a fight for survival to retain their current status.

Lee-Barrett will be under pressure to perform, and he is big favourite to replace the injured Richard Wright between the posts for tomorrow's game at Bristol City at Ashton Gate (kick-off 3pm).

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Keane has his hands tied over bringing in a permanent or loan keeper before Republic of Ireland senior squad member Brian Murphy becomes eligible on January 1, but he can sign a keeper who has not been registered with any club since August 31.

The other option is a recall for Shane Supple, who is still registered with Ipswich.

But it is highly unlikely that the player who retired from the game in August will be approached to return from Dublin on a short-term basis.

Keane had a long chat with Supple before the 22-year-old made public his decision to hang up his gloves.

Supple fell out of love with the game and not Ipswich Town, and Keane is well aware of the player's lack of interest in football as a career.

But bringing a player who may have been in action last season but is currently a free agent is a possibility with Lee-Barrett in a similar position after being released in June by Hartlepool when signed by Ipswich as a replacement for Supple last August.

Former England keeper Ian Walker, 38, is a case in point having been released by Bolton in the summer but he is believed to be back in the USA and suffering from a long-standing back problem.

Andrew Oakes, 32, played for Derby and Bolton when they were Premier League sides and has also been with Walsall and Swansea, and played for Darlington last season.

Stephen Collis, 28, has appeared for Southend and Crewe while Ayden Duffy, 23, was with Lincoln City's first team last season.

Keane and chief scout Steve McCall have been hunting around for out of contract keepers this week - probably not to play but to offer more cover for Lee-Barrett than untried 18-year-old rookie youth-team keeper Ian McLoughlin.

Town registered their goalkeeping coach Andy Rhodes in 2006/07 at the age of 42 and although given the 25 jersey he was never named in their final squad.

elvin.king@archant.co.uk

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