Roy is close to his best XI

ROY Keane is getting closer to knowing his best XI and which formation he will favour for the beginning on the new season.

Derek Davis

ROY Keane is getting closer to knowing his best XI and which formation he will favour for the beginning on the new season.

The Blues take on Colchester United at Portman Road tomorrow as part of Fabian Wilnis' testimonial day as well as another important step in their preparations for the up coming campaign.

Keane has been trimming his squads down to 20 players and less for the friendly matches and more players are completing 90 minutes as their fitness begins to peak.

With Charlton at the Valley on Tuesday, then Real Valladolid the final test next Friday, the game against League One side Colchester offers Town fans their first opportunity to see Keane's promotion challengers for the first time.

Keane said: “The team is taking shape. What I want is for the payers to make it hard for me and I do believe eventually that the players will be picking the team.

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“How they do that is by training properly every day, being on time, preparing well and performing 100 per cent. That will make my job easy.”

A strong Blues side will entertain the U's who drew 2-2 with Aston Villa on Tuesday and Keane is expecting another tough work out.

He said: “They played Villa the other night and a member of our staff watched them and was very impressed. We know it will be another stepping stone and we look forward to it.

“We tried a shape against Southend and the players are getting used to what we are asking of them.

“I want my team to be playing one or two different systems whether that is 4-4-2, 4-4-1-1 or 4-3-3, but it won't happen overnight.”

The U's are managed by Paul Lambert, who Keane has enjoyed some good tussles against in the past, not least when Manchester United were knocked out of the Champions' league semi-final by Lambert's Borussia Dortmund side

Keane said: “I remember those games well. Paul is doing a very good job at Colchester. I was with him a few weeks ago at Tommy Burns' testimonial match and we had a very good chat.

“I have a lot of time for him and I look forward to meeting up with him again.

“He knows it will be a competitive match and I'm sure they will have watched us against Southend.

“I'm sure Colchester will come to our place on Saturday and put on a good show.”

In between the more serious business town fans will be able to watch the likes of Frans Thjissen, Martijn Reuser, Kieron Dyer, Darren Currie, John McGreal, Hermann Hriedarsson and Sylvain Legwinski, and Wilnis in a nine-a-side game at half time.

While wanting fans to show their appreciation for the service Wilnis provided the Blues, he also expects a competitive friendly.

He said: “Fabian been a good servant for the club. While the punters are coming to watch a testimonial match they also want to watch a decent game. There won't be any of this carry on with 20 substitutions or players from 10 years ago running on. It is a proper game and hopefully the supporters will enjoy that and give Fabian a good reception before and at half time.

“As far as I'm concerned it is an important part of our pre-season so I hope the supporters turn up and enjoy it.”