Roy rattled us - Gareth

GARETH McAuley confessed that manager Roy Keane "rattled" a few of his players, in the dressing room, to kick-start his team for the second half of Saturday's frustrating goalless draw at Portman Road.

Carl Marston

GARETH McAuley confessed that manager Roy Keane "rattled" a few of his players, in the dressing room, to kick-start his team for the second half of Saturday's frustrating goalless draw at Portman Road.

In the end, Bristol City keeper Dean Gerken played a blinder to keep dominant Ipswich Town at bay, and so keep Keane's men just four points clear of the drop zone.

In fact, ex-Colchester United star Gerken almost singly-handedly denied Town two precious points. It was Town's 17th draw of a

dreadfully disappointing campaign, although they have now risen to a season-high 17th spot in the Championship table.

Keane was far from happy with his team's below-par first-half showing, as McAuley was quick to admit.

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"We started the game well, for the first 10 minutes or so, but we then lost control of it," explained McAuley.

"He's (Keane's) never going to be happy with that! He made a few points and he rattled a few, and got a reaction for the second half.

"The players have standards, and he just thought they weren't up to the standards that they usually produce.

"He was trying to gee them up and produce the standards that he expects, and that's what everyone expects of him.

"But then he's always geeing us up, that's for sure!

"We let our standards slip in the first half. He wasn't happy and, rightly so, we were told, and we produced a better performance in the second half," added McAuley.

Town centre-half McAuley, who lasted the 90 minutes despite a niggling groin injury, also revealed that he was still "embarrassed" by Town's

continual struggle near the bottom of the table.

""We are all fighting for the football club," insisted McAuley. "No one wants to be the in the position that we are in. We haven't

produced enough results, so that's when the criticism is going to come

towards the players and the rest of the staff. "But we don't have sympathy with the manager, because sympathy's the wrong word. We all have respect for him and everyone wants to do well

for him and push on.

"It's embarrassing really, the situation that we're in, struggling at the bottom.

"But the fans have stuck with us and it's very much appreciated," added McAuley.

Town have no midweek game, and although McAuley is in the Northern Ireland squad to face Armenia in a friendly on Wednesday, he looks likely to withdraw due to his groin injury.

Although Gerken was the man of the match on Saturday, there were two controversial moments involving the City keeper.

He could have been sent off late in the first half, after rushing out of the penalty area to usher the ball away from David Healy, because there was just a suspicion that he handled outside his penalty area.

He then missed his punch in stoppage time, as Connor Wickham's long throw went straight into the net. The goal did not stand because no one touched it.