Town review of the year - part two

IN the second of this two-part review, Ipswich Town’s disappointing 2010 briefly promised to improve, before ending with the club in the lower reaches of the Championship.

IN the second of this two-part review, Ipswich Town’s disappointing 2010 briefly promised to improve, before ending with the club in the lower reaches of the Championship.

JULY

HIGHS: Town rattled up cricket scores in their first two pre-season friendlies, at Newmarket and Histon. Experienced left-back Mark Kennedy signed from Cardiff for �75,000 on a two-year deal.

LOWS: Damien Delaney was left counting his blessings after a dead leg, sustained in training, led to serious complications. He had to have emergency surgery to remove a blood clot, otherwise amputation could have been a possibility. He returned to the side in October. There was also some sad news surrounding new coach Gary Ablett, who was diagnosed as suffering from cancer and so immediately stood down to start treatment.


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KEANE’S QUOTE OF THE MONTH: About his interest in Cardiff’s Michael Chopra: “I obviously spoke to Dave Jones when we were signing Mark Kennedy, and we talked about a few players, but I have to be respectful to Dave, Cardiff and Chops. It would be wrong for me to say who I am interested in.”

AUGUST

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HIGHS: The new season began in blistering fashion, with a comfortable 3-1 win at Middlesbrough, and continued with a second away league success at Crystal Palace through goals from Grant Leadbitter (penalty) and Carlos Edwards. Palace new signing Edgar Davids was presented to the Selhurst Park faithful, but was to prove a flop.

LOWS: Town did not actually suffer a defeat throughout the first month of the season. But Mark Kennedy’s hamstring injury, suffered in the closing minutes at the Riverside, was to hamper him, on-and-off, until just before Christmas. Earlier in the month, there were reports of a dressing room bust-up between Keane and striker Pablo Counago, following the last pre-season friendly against a Tottenham XI.

KEANE’S QOTM: Following the opening day win at Middlesbrough: “We’re 24 hours into the season and we already struggling for numbers, which is shocking really. It’s not good enough for a club like Ipswich. My little boy might even get a game himself at Exeter on Tuesday!”

SEPTEMBER

HIGHS: Hopes of a successful season were raised by an impressive 2-0 home win over fancied Cardiff City on September 18. Jason Scotland netted his second goal for the club in his fourth league outing, after Cardiff substitute Adam Matthews had headed into his own net for a bizarre own goal.

LOWS: Keane’s men were no match for early leaders QPR, who sailed to a 3-0 win at Portman Road. It was Town’s first defeat of the season, inspired by a brace from Jamie Mackie and a penalty from Heider Helguson.

KEANE’S QOTM: Following some more powder-puff finishing in a 1-0 defeat at Reading: “We don’t want to go down the same road as last year, of playing well but not being able to put the ball in the back of the net.”

OCTOBER

HIGHS: This month began and ended well, starting with a 2-1 home win over Leeds and culminating in a 2-0 home victory over Millwall. Defender Tommy Smith clambered off the bench to be the unlikely match-winner against Leeds, thanks to a late header. But the only other triumph was a Carling Cup win over Northampton.

LOWS: Three defeats on the spin dampened Town’s early season promise, at the hands of Coventry, Watford and Forest.

KEANE’S QOTM: Going on the attack against some of Town’s home supporters, in the wake of the defeat by Coventry: “A lot of supporters out there, not just in this club, don’t know too much about the game. And I think a lot of people, particularly around this area, are probably set in their ways.”

NOVEMBER

HIGHS: The only reason to celebrate in an otherwise desperate month came with a 2-1 win at Sheffield United on November 6, which saw Keane’s men sitting pretty in sixth spot. But it was downhill from then on.

LOWS: Four defeats on the bounce left Town nose-diving down the Championship table, ending with a humbling 4-1 defeat at deadly rivals Norwich City. Damien Delaney was sent off and Grant Holt helped himself to a hat-trick.

KEANE’S QOTM: With regards to his lack of friends in the media: “I didn’t come here with my own PR people, and I don’t have pals in the media. I had the same at Sunderland. Two weeks after I left Sunderland, everyone was got rid of. Steve Bruce brought his own PR people in from Wigan.”

DECEMBER

HIGHS: Two fantastic results gave Town fans some early festive spirit. Grant Leadbitter’s penalty dispatched Premier League visitors West Brom, to set up a Carling Cup semi-final against Arsenal, and three first-half goals in a snow blizzard brushed aside Sven Goran Eriksson’s Leicester.

LOWS: Another defeat, Town’s sixth on the trot in the Championship, heaped the pressure on Keane. They lost at bottom club Preston 1-0 on December 11. The late call-off of the scheduled Boxing Day match with Watford was also disappointing for all Town fans who had already arrived at the ground.

KEANE’S QOTM: On his own precarious future: “I ask myself every day – do I think I’m capable of turning things around – and the answer is yes. But it might be tomorrow, or it might be Thursday, when I think that I’m not the one who can turn things around. Then I’ll sit down with the owner and we will have that conversation.”

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