“We’re chalk and cheese from first game of season’ - Keane

IPSWICH Town manager Roy Keane has entered the New Year with his eyes wide open and with no doubts that improvements have to be made.

“If you compare where we were at the opening day of the season to where we are now – it’s chalk and cheese,” said manager Keane as he prepared to lead his side into Championship action against Coventry City at the Ricoh Arena this afternoon (kick-off 3pm).

“We looked good then with Jon Walters and Jon Stead in the squad.

“But it’s just not happening now.

“We can make things happen with two or three good signings and this must be my immediate task.”

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Looking back on the last 12 months Keane stroked his chin for a few moments and said: “I have no favourite moments from 2010.

“Not one that I can think of.

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“Hopefully they will come this year, and my wish for 2011 is to bring in a couple of players in January.

“But that’s a big ask in the circumstances.

“And of course I want to see us climbing the table, but we’re three or four players away from being a decent team, and that’s nearly half the side.

“We’ll keep battling away and see where that takes us.”

Keane has left fans in no doubts where he stands over contract talks with skipper David Norris and key central defender Gareth McAuley.

Their contracts run out in June, and from today they can start talking to other clubs about transferring for free in the summer.

“I’m pretty sure if their agents are any good they will have something lined up for them already,” added Keane.

“They give us experience and they have showed their worth to us, and it’s an issue that has to be dealt with.

“Whenever that’s done it will be interesting to know.”

Keane has told owner Marcus Evans and chief executive Simon Clegg his desire to keep both McAuley and Norris and the matter is now in the hands of Clegg to rubber stamp new two-year deals for both players.

Nineteen other players could be leaving the club in the close season including Damien Delaney and Carlos Edwards, but Keane has concentrated his mind at the moment on keeping McAuley and Norris onboard.

“It’s about backing the football club and not me,” continued Keane, who revealed yesterday that he has identified three players he wants to bring in during this month’s transfer window.

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