No knee-jerk reaction from Evans

IPSWICH Town fans clamouring for the head of Roy Keane are unlikely to get their wish, at least for a few weeks.

IPSWICH Town fans clamouring for the head of Roy Keane are unlikely to get their wish, at least for a few weeks.

A terrible run of six straight league defeats, and nine losses in their last 11 league games, has seen Town tumble down the Championship table at an alarming rate.

That has prompted a large section of Town fans to call for Keane to be sacked. Enough is enough, they cry. It has come to the point of no return.

And yet history suggests that owner Marcus Evans, if he was to decide that Keane should be replaced – and that remains a big “IF” at present – will be in no mad rush to wield the axe.

That was the case with Keane’s predecessor, Jim Magilton. It was only after Keane himself was identified as the next Town manager that Magilton was shown the door, ironically just days after a 3-2 win over Norwich City in the East Anglian derby.

There is no reason to suggest that Mr Evans would change his approach this time around.

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Town’s reclusive owner-and-chairman is not going to make any snap decisions, unlike some other chairmen who tend to make swift appointments as a knee-jerk reaction. He is a pragmatist, not a dreamer.

And that’s why Keane is likely to still be in charge for the start of 2011, let alone this Saturday’s home game against in-form Leicester City.

For him to go, before Town embark on their New Year’s Day trip to Coventry, and indeed before the Cup matches against Chelsea and Arsenal come around, one of two events must surely take place.

Either, Keane himself throws in the towel and resigns – a possibility, though he dismissed this option following his side’s 1-0 defeat at bottom club Preston on Saturday.

Or, Town suffer a humiliating defeat in one of their next two home games, against Leicester this weekend or Watford on Boxing Day.

Mr Evans would certainly not want Town to become a laughing stock, hammered in front of their own long-suffering fans, not least because the Leicester game is being televised live on Sky Sports.

He cannot afford Portman Road attendances to keep dropping, following the worst crowd for 11 years (16,978) for Town’s last home fixture against Swansea City.

And more to the point, he cannot afford Town’s morale to be hit so hard that League One football becomes a distinct possibility. A heavy home defeat would be so damaging that it might cause Mr Evans to have a rethink.

But it is more likely that Keane, if he decides to stick to his guns and try and turn around the team’s fortunes, will still be the manager of Ipswich Town for a few more weeks at least.

When asked whether he still “wanted to see the job through,” following the last dismal defeat at Preston, Keane was far from his usual defiant self.

Rather than go on the attack, by giving the questioner a curt reply, accompanied by a trademark cold stare, he fell silent for a few seconds before whispering a quiet “yep.”

Was that the first signs of Keane having second thoughts about his own future?

Mr Evans will have the final say, and he is unlikely to act quickly, unless Keane beats him to it.

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