Take it from DJ... Blues are going up

DAVID Johnson believes Roy Keane's winning habit will get the Blues promoted.

Derek Davis

Fearless Roy

By Derek Davis

DAVID Johnson believes Roy Keane's winning habit will get the Blues promoted.

Johnson, 33 today, was part of the Blues squad that got into the Premier League under George Burley in 2000 and is confident his old team-mate from Manchester United will bring back the glory days to Portman Road.

Johnson said: “Roy Keane is a winner in everything he does. He was a winner as a player and already as manager he has won a promotion.

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“What he did at Sunderland was truly remarkable. They were third bottom when he took over early in the season and they went up as champions.

“I can see him doing it again with Ipswich although they will need to improve their away record again this year.

“Ipswich are capable of cracking the top two, certainly top six but they have to make Portman Road a fortress again and turn some of those draws into wins.”

Johnson was part of Manchester United's FA Youth Cup winning side along with the likes of David Beckham, Paul Scholes, the Neville brothers and Ryan Giggs, when Keane was in his early days at old Trafford, and the striker can vividly remembers the qualities he had as a player that still hold true today.

He said: “Keano had just arrived on a British transfer record and from day one stamped his authority on the team and the club. He was soon running the show even though United had the likes of Paul Ince and Bryan Robson in the side then and later Eric Cantona.

“As United captain he won everything and to me he is the best player in British football in 30 years.”

A knee injury meant he never made any senior appearances for United before going to Bury and then Ipswich, Johnson watched and learned from Keane on the training ground.

He said: “The thing that stood out for me then was how hard he worked. He was powerful and strong and not afraid of anything.

“That type of player is infectious. It is great having skilful players but you need players like him in your side.

“I would prefer a Roy Keane in the side any day of the week.”

Johnson will be able to see the progress Keane makes first hand as he is part of the BBC Radio Suffolk commentary team this season and intends

“I will call it as I see it. If they play well then all well and good, everyone is happy but when they are bad I will say it is bad.

“It is no good pretending otherwise because players and manger know and the fans see through it anyway.”

With 62 goals in 158 appearances for the Blues before a �3m move to Nottingham Forest, Johnson played his part in getting Town up and then into Europe and has already, in his own small way, helped Ipswich this season.

As an agent for Umbro Johnson supplied the boots that Connor Wickham uses with such devastating effect, as he showed with his brace at Shrewsbury.

Johnson is a big fan of the 16-year-old but also feels the strike rate of Jon Stead and Tamas Priskin will be vital for Town, as he Alex Mathie, Marcus Stewart and James Scowcroft did.

He said: “I played in team where every striker was scoring goals and that is a massive plus.

“Connor clearly has a bright future. Everyone is looking for the next Alan Shearer or Michael Owen and he is a massive talent.”

Johnson also feels that despite his age Wickham will step up quickly.

He added: “I have watched him in reserves and youth games and the better players he is around at Ipswich will improve his game. He is playing first team football other sin youth and reserves he is doing it

“He scored goals in pre-season and he is young and energetic and wont feel tiredness. He is level-headed and will take everything in his stride.”

Injury forced Johnson to retire early from playing and after finishing at Nottingham Forest he has coached youngsters and worked with a sports agency.

He fancies his old club to do well and like Ipswich could break into the top six.

He said: “I still have a lot of affection for Forest and can see them coming on. What they have that no one else has, is six proven goal scorers and they can all cause problems.”

He also tips Sheffield United and West Brom to do well while Middlesbrough and Newcastle may struggle, especially as the Magpies don't have a manager as such and certainly not one like Keane.