Town must now kick-on says Keane

IPSWICH TOWN: Blues manager Roy Keane wants his team to take the next step towards their development into serious promotion candidates when they play Derby County in the Championship at Portman Road tonight (kick-off 7.45pm).

Town go into the game on the back of three victories with the two in the league taking them back up from 14th to sixth in the table.

“Now we must kick-on,” stressed Keane.

“We failed to do that when we played Coventry at home last month when we were in a good position, and two away defeats then also followed.

“If we want to do well this season then we need to build on what we’ve achieved over the last 10 days.

“It’s an important fixture.

“There are a lot of teams around us, but we need to to look after ourselves.

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“A lot of teams get into the top six, but the good team stay there, and this is the challenge we have handed to our players.

“It’s nice to be back in the top six, but the secret is to be there at the end of the season.”

Keane has warned about getting carrying away adding: “Last month at one stage we were second or third. A few days later we were 14th.

“We must keep our heads and keep doing the best we can and see where that takes us.

“What was nice about having a bad week was that the players stuck together. The spirit stayed intact.”

Keane is expecting another tough game tonight against a side that the Blues doubled last season with their first win of the campaign obtained in late October and a good win at Pride Park in April.

Keane is looking for Tamas Priskin and Jason Scotland to each reach doubles figures in the scoring charts.

“As I have said before we were never going to get anywhere last season with Jon Walters our leading scorer with just eight goals, which included two penalties,” said Keane, who reflected on Priskin’s improvement in form this campaign.

“Tamas is doing well. Fans have supported him and his confidence is high.

“If he keeps up his current ratio he’ll reach double figures, which is all we ask of him - we need our strikers to do that.

“I am not adverse to changing a winning team, but Tamas’ performances are saying to me ‘You can’t leave me out’.

“He is benefitting from a good pre-season and having a better service and with more support around him.”

Ipswich have arranged a behind closed doors friendly against Norwich City next Wednesday to give fringe a game.

Tonight’s likely squads

Ipswich Town: Fulop, Eastman, Peters, Brown, McAuley, Delaney, Smith, O’Dea, Edwards, Leadbitter, Norris, Livermore, Colback, Townsend, Priskin, Scotland, Wickham, Murray, Hyam, Murphy.

Derby County: Fielding, Moxey, Brayford, Barker, Savage, Pearson, Cywka, Bailey, Green, Commons, Doyle, Kuqi, Addison, Roberts, Martin, Pringle, Atkins, O’Brien.

Referee: Mr R East (Wiltshire)

Ipswich home league record against Derby County:

P32 W18 D7 L7 F55 A35

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