Saturday will show whether players want Keane to stay

IPSWICH TOWN: How do Blues players feel about manager Roy Keane?

Do they want him to remain long term at Portman Road?

Much will be revealed during Saturday’s Championship game at Deepdale against bottom of the table Preston North End.

It will be a test of character for a squad that will be made up of virtually all Keane’s signings.

Lose and the manager’s position will be put under even more pressure – win and it could signal a welcome move back up the table.

How will the players react after letting Keane down in the last two fixtures as Ipswich look to get out of a spiralling descent after losing eight of the last 10 league matches – and every one of their last five?

It could be the key to Keane’s future against a Preston side already written off in most quarters as relegation certainties.

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At Norwich, Town conceded two bad first half goals and had Damien Delaney sent off after looking to have got on top of the Canaries after equalising.

And Keane’s tactics looked spot on again at home to Swansea at the weekend where his players kept to the game plan of wearing the visitors down before taking the lead and then taking control.

Swansea’s body language suggested they were a beaten side before individual errors and two rank bad refereeing decisions combined to see the Welsh side run out 3-1 victors.

Keane is man enough to take the blame, and he is worldly-wise enough to know what the consequences will be if his side’s results do not quickly pick up.

Apart from Tommy Smith, Jaime Peters and Tom Eastman, last Saturday’s squad were all brought to the club by Keane, who must stand accused of making poor signings the longer the losing run goes on.

But he can rightly ponder that he has not been receiving the run of the ball in recent games – or been served well by his troops.

If his players are right behind him and want him to lead them after the January cup games against Premier League opposition they need to show this at Deepdale.

A great deal will be revealed between 3pm and 4.55pm on Saturday against a poor Lancashire-based outfit who are favourites to go down along with Scunthorpe.

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