Tough summer ahead for Keane

PATIENCE is a virtue.

And Ipswich Town boss Roy Keane will have to have bags of patience this summer, in his quest to mould the squad that he wants for next season.

Keane always knew that it was going to be a tough test, to secure the new recruits that he needed, which is why the Irishman is in for the long haul.

It’s still early days, and in fact a few more weeks might trundle by before Town’s new squad begins to take shape.

Keane’s shopping list can be guessed – on the top of the list is an assistant manager, followed by a variety of playing positions to fill.

The Irishman wants another keeper, probably a right-back and left-back, a left winger and a new striker. He has also been looking at adding to his central midfield options.

Here is the likely run-down:

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1 Assistant manager: Keane revealed last week that he was interested in bringing in a No.2 with experience of managing in the Premier League, although he has also been linked with Brendan Rodgers, who was in charge of both Watford and Reading at Championship level. Rodgers is also amongst the contenders for the vacant Colchester United manager’s job, and is also being considered for a role in the backroom staff at Manchester City.

2 Goalkeeper: Keane has gone on record as saying that he doesn’t want a repeat of last season’s fiasco, when circumstances dictated that he had a spell of having to play the inexperienced Arran Lee-Barrett in goal, with rookie teenager Ian McLoughlin as the only back-up on the bench. Six different keepers were involved in the first team squad during the campaign. Keane wants three senior keepers on the books, which effectively means that he needs to find another keeper to give extra competition and cover for Brian Murphy and Lee-Barrett.

3 Right-back: The release of David Wright, and the departure of Reading loanee Liam Rosenior, has left Keane short of options at right-back. That will need to be addressed.

4 Left-back: This position gave Keane the biggest headache last season, even bigger than the unpredictable goalkeeping crisis. Shane O’Connor came on leaps-and-bounds during the second half of the campaign, and will be hoping to claim the spot on a regular basis next season. But the Town boss is looking for reinforcements. Former Derby left-back Jay McEveley and Yeovil’s Nathan Smith have so far been linked.

5 Left-winger: It is hoped that Luciano Civelli will overcome his long-term knee injury, that kept him out of the whole of last season, to play a part, but it would be unfair to rely too much on the Argentine. Keane is believed to be interested in recruiting Tottenham teenager Andros Townsend on a season-long loan, and has also been involved in the race to sign Peterborough’s George Boyd.

6 Striker: Last but not least, Keane needs to unearth a regular goalscorer for next season. Town will again fall well short of the top six if their leading scorer only nets seven goals (like last term).

Connor Wickham has already showed terrific potential, but Keane also needs a goal poacher with more experience. And yet he also wants a smaller squad, so it will be interesting to see what happens to out-of-favour Tamas Priskin, Jon Stead and Pablo Counago over the coming months. Proven goalscorers like Gary Hooper (Scunthorpe) and Michael Chopra (Cardiff) look beyond Town’s budget.

Of course Keane might also have other irons in the fire. He was tracking Crystal Palace’s experienced central midfielder Shaun Derry last week, and if Gareth McAuley leaves the club, with Bolton having expressed an interest, then the Town boss would suddenly be in the market for a central defender as well.

No wonder Keane admits that this is “the biggest summer” of his managerial career.

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