O’Connor salutes the man that saved his career

IPSWICH TOWN: Shane O’Connor is set to start tomorrow’s Championship game against Bristol City after Blues manager Roy Keane helped to keep the 20-year-old in the game.

The lad from Cork was released by Liverpool in the summer of 2009, and after being offered a trial by Keane was given a one-year Town contract 12 months ago.

He did well enough in 13 appearances to earn himself a new two-year contract this summer and he says that he is now happier than at any time since he left home to pursue a footballing career.

“My career was possibly petering out at the time I left Liverpool,” O’Connor said.

“I needed a chance and I knew the gaffer a little and he took me on.

“Knowing someone in football to give me another chance was what I needed and I’ve been very fortunate.

“I can’t thank the gaffer enough, and without him I don’t know where I’d be right now.

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“I’ve learned a great deal from him and although the weather isn’t as great as I would have hoped this is a lovely place to live and I’m the happiest I’ve been in the four or five years I’ve been away from home.”

O’Connor says that Keane knows what he wants and that his style of management has helped develop his career to a new level.

“The gaffer wants you to be at it day-in, day-out. If not you will know about it.

“The intensity of our training is showing in the positive way we have started the season.

“Having a two-year deal is very nice but I’ve now got to push on and give 100 per cent all the while and work towards ensuring I can extend my stay here even further.

“When I arrived at Portman Road I was struggling, but with the help of the manager – and the players who have been brilliant – I’ve become a much better player.

“I’m now much more comfortable on the ball although there are several area I still need to improve including heading and crossing.”

O’Connor says that he will happily play a full game against Bristol City despite playing 120 minutes in the Carling Cup at Crewe on Tuesday – and not getting back home until 3am on Wednesday morning.

“At my age I hope to play another 90 minutes tomorrow – the more I play the better as I look to establish myself in the first team.

“We have a lighter squad this year but the quality is there for all to see.

“Any season you need to pick up three points regularly at home and we keep our current performance levels going the results will come in front of our own supporters.”

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