“We’ll be depleted against Chelsea’ - Keane

IPSWICH Town manager Roy Keane is currently anticipating fielding an under strength side for the FA Cup third round game against Premier League champions Chelsea on January 9.

As things stand at the moment he will not be given permission to use any of his five loanees as their parent clubs will not want them cup tied with the current deals all running out some time next month.

“We look as though we will be going to Stamford Bridge with a depleted squad,” said Keane.

“It is an unbelievable position to be in and will be a test for everyone.

“It’s another reason why it’s important to be able to strengthen the squad and why I’m fighting my corner to that end.

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“And I’ll be making a few phone calls and sending out a few begging letters.

“I spoke to Sunderland manager Steve Bruce yesterday and he has injuries and Jack Colback may be going back, which would be a disaster for us and I’ve also spoken to Tottenham about Jake Livermore and we’ll see how that goes over the next few weeks.

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“It’s about backing the club at this crucial time and we have also to guard against bringing back Gareth McAuley too early with his contract up in June and his agent no doubt listing all his player’s options.”

Town lost 3-1 when they visited Chelsea at the fourth round stage two years ago and with a full strength side they would fancy their chances of doing better this time with the Londoners suffering a dip in form.

Since Town last played they have lost four players with Brian Murphy and Shane O’Connor suffering long-term injuries and Gianni Zuiverloon joining Andros Townsend in going back to his parent club.

Murphy underwent an operation last night with his broken ankle showing no signs of immediate improvement although it is still expected that he will be back in three months.

“It’s been a shocking few days for us,” said Keane. “We’ve lost four good players without kicking a ball in earnest.

“Gianni was settling in well and he’s a talented lad who already had a feel for the place.

“I’d not be happy with the challenge from the keeper in training if I was Shane O’Connor. It could have been avoided and this popular lad will now have to sit things out for six weeks or so.”

Former Manchester United keeper Roy Carroll is currently training with Ipswich and the former team mate of Keane’s at Old Trafford could be around for a while as it is a mid-winter break for his club Odense.

“Don’t read anything into it at this stage,” said Keane. “But it’s nice to have Roy around.”

Tomorrow’s likely squads

Coventry City : Westwood, Keogh, McPake, Cameron, Wood, Bell, Carsley, Doyle, Eastwood, King, Platt, Ireland, Jutkiewicz, Cranie, Baker, Wilson, O’Halloran, Clarke, Thomas..

Ipswich Town: Fulop, Brown, Delaney, Smith, Kennedy, Norris, Leadbitter, Colback, Edwards, Scotland, Fallon, Lee-Barrett, Eastman, O’Dea, Livermore, Peters, Priskin, Wickham, Murray, Healy.

Referee: Mr R J Booth (Nottinghamshire)

Ipswich league record at Coventry City

P37 W11 D11 L15 F50 A60

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