Roy plans a reshuffle

ROY Keane is yet to stick with the same team for three successive games, and he is unlikely to change his ways tomorrow.

Carl Marston

ROY Keane is yet to stick with the same team for three successive games, and he is unlikely to change his ways tomorrow.

The Irishman prefers to “freshen up” his side, rather than stick with the same formula, especially during a run of three games in eight days.

And that will be the case against visiting Bristol City, as Town prepare for a long-awaited home game after four away fixtures on the bounce.

Keane broke with tradition to select the same starting XI for the 1-1 draw at Scunthorpe, following the previous weekend's 1-0 win at Sheffield Wednesday. It was only the second time he had done this since his appointment to the Town hot-seat last April. But you can expect changes for tomorrow.

Teenage left-back Shane O'Connor can be delighted with the first two league games of his career, at Hillsborough and Glanford Park, but Keane believes that three quickfire games may be too much for the ex-Liverpool Academy defender.

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Likewise, Keane might also consider recalling striker David Healy to the starting line-up, after the Sunderland loanee netted his first goal in more than a year with the equaliser at Scunthorpe.

There is also the possibility of bringing Liam Rosenior back into the side. The right-back has struggled with illness over the last week, but has since returned to training.

“As much as people might think I can be cruel, I think I would have been cruel to change the team from Saturday,” said Keane.

“But obviously this Saturday is another very different game. We're at home and we'll see how the lads recover.

“There were some pretty tired legs in there (Scunthorpe dressing room), let me tell you, on the back of four away games.

“The players put in a good shift on a heavy pitch. We're putting high demands on them, like young Shane O'Connor and (Daryl) Murphy.

“Wrighty (David Wright) had done well (at Sheffield Wednesday), as had Shane, so it would have been unfair to drop them.

“No one deserved to be left out, although I know it's horses for courses and you have to look at the pitch. But Saturday is different.

“Two games in four days will have taken a bit out of Shane I'm sure,”added Keane.

It seems an age since the Sunderland loanee double act of Healy and Daryl Murphy made their Town debuts in the 1-1 home draw against Middlesbrough.

That was actually Town's last home game, a distant three weeks ago, since when Keane's men have taken seven points from a possible 12 in four away games.

Healy has been on the bench for three of his first five games with Town, but he might get the nod tomorrow.

Keane confirmed: “David Healy has looked very sharp in training. He's slightly behind Murph in terms of his match fitness, but he had a run of 15 to 20 minutes.

“He had looked sharp in the previous few days and will be disappointed not to start at Scunthorpe.

“But he's got the game Saturday obviously, then he's away with the national team. He just needs a run of games,” added Keane.

Key midfielder Grant Leadbitter picked up his ninth booking of the season on Tuesday night. A 10th yellow card would mean an automatic two-match ban.