Odds shorten that Keane will stay - Hughton unlikely replacement

IPSWICH Town manager Roy Keane is planning to go ahead with his pre-Chelsea FA Cup press conference at Portman Road tomorrow with odds shortening that he will remain in charge of the Blues for Sunday’s FA Cup visit to Stamford Bridge.

There is no doubt that his long term position remains in considerable doubt after accruing just four Championship points out of the last 27.

Reports that ex-Newcastle United boss Chris Hughton is lined up to replace Keane appear wide of the mark.

Blues owner Marcus Evans is surely seeking an older manager this time around with Hughton having no more experience than Keane.

It will be a major shock – even to the man himself, as he appreciates that he is in a results-related business - if Keane survives until the end of his contract in the summer.

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Evans is expected to act in the same way that he did when Jim Magilton was dismissed, and have a replacement ready to step in with the changeover done and dusted inside 48 hours.

This would also go against Hughton, whose principles would not allow him to discuss a position that is still occupied.

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Evans might however put Ian McParland in temporary charge while a successor to Keane is advertised. The current coach has managerial experience with Notts County with number two Tony Loughlan likely to go at the same time as Keane.

Time will tell, but what is in no doubt is that Keane still has the dressing room. His players remain fighting his corner unlike George Burley’s last days in charge at Portman Road.

It doesn’t take a genius to see that Town have gone backwards during Keane’s reign and are currently staring League One in the face.

Worse results, poorer entertainment and a weaker squad although Keane has not received the help he could have reasonable expected in his attempt to recruit the right additions.

Town beat Crystal Palace 2-0 in a behind closed door friendly on Tuesday with Tamas Priskin and Colin Healy netting the goals and Luca Civelli, Ronan Murray, Reggie Lambe, Arran Lee-Barrett and Jack Ainsley the senior players involved.

Sheffield Wednesday have dismissed claims that they are interested in striker Rory Fallon, who could make his Town move permanent later this month after being on loan from Plymouth for the last six weeks.

If 17-year-old striker Connor Wickham faces Chelsea on Sunday it will be his 50th first team appearance for the Blues. Skipper David Norris needs two more appearances to bring up his Ipswich century.

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