No axe hanging over Keane’s head

IPSWICH Town manager Roy Keane will go into the New Year with his job not on the line.

So says chief executive Simon Clegg, who is owner Marcus Evans’ spokesman at Portman Road, who also confirmed that Keane will be given cash to spend on new players during the January transfer window.

With an inspection this morning at the Keepmoat Stadium expected to call a halt to tomorrow’s planned npower Championship match against Doncaster Rovers because of frost and forecasted snow, Keane will have overseen the best Town calendar year since 2004.

Yesterday’s scheduled home game against Watford was called off a little more than 90 minutes before kick-off leaving Town frustrated as they looked to build on a 3-0 win against Leicester that ended a run of six consecutive league defeats.

Town are situated in the lower reaches of the table and struggling to make an impact in the league although they have reached the semi-final of the Carling Cup.

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“There is no axe hanging over the head of the manager,” said Clegg.

“But it is time to kick on now as we are coming up to the half-way stage in the season.

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“Everyone is focused and I’m still very excited about what we can achieve this campaign.

“We are building in the right direction, but there is further movement to go – and it’s time to move on.

“We are in a results-driven business and you live by results.

“You have to recognise how painful it was for everybody going through that losing run and we know what was delivered then is not what we want to see.

“We are looking for good times ahead and with a lot of confidence.”

And when asked whether Keane will have money to spend next month, Clegg expressed thoughts of balancing the books but added: “Roy will receive financial support from the owner.

“If there is someone he wants to bring in he will get backing.

“There may be players going out as you cannot increase the squad ad infinitum as that presents all sorts of challenges.”

Clegg confirmed there is no news on contracts talks with David Norris and Gareth McAuley and revealed the current situation regarding other players whose contracts expire next summer.

“It is something that the owner, the manager and myself have discussions about and they are continuing and when we are in a position to comment we will.”

Reflecting on yesterday’s postponement with conditions positively spring-like compared to the Leicester game, Clegg went on: “There are traditional cold areas on the pitch and despite the covers and space heaters the referee was not happy to proceed.

“This surprised players on both sides, but we have to respect his decision with our groundstaff working so hard.

“I like to think we would have had over 20,000 in the ground and it’s all very disappointing as we were looking to build on the momentum of the Leicester victory.”

Former Town striker Jordan Rhodes could be heading for Norwich City, with the Canaries having the Huddersfield striker top of their shopping list should they sell Grant Holt next month.

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