Young guns set for Crewe

IPSWICH Town’s young guns will have another chance to shine at free-scoring Crewe Alexandra in tonight’s Carling Cup, second round tie.

Town needed extra-time to beat League One hosts Exeter City in round one, and manager Roy Keane is expecting another difficult evening against a side that slammed seven past Barnet on Saturday.

The likes of Troy Brown, Shane O’Connor, Tom Eastman, Ronan Murray, Conor Hourihane and Reggie Lambe are all expected to feature for the Blues at Gresty Road, although Keane will include some experience in his ranks as well.

Tamas Priskin will lead the front-line, and new signing Jason Scotland will probably be on the substitutes’ bench. Skipper David Norris is also likely to figure.

“It will be our fourth away game in five matches, which is tough for the players and our supporters,” said Keane.

“But if you can win a game of football, then it gives everyone a lift, and we want to keep our run going.

“It’s a great game for Crewe. They have nothing to lose, but it will be tough for them as well.”

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The Railwaymen thrashed Barnet 7-0 last weekend, having lost their first two league matches of the season against Hereford (1-0) and at Cheltenham (3-2).

They took the scalp of Championship side Derby County in the first round of this competition.

Experienced manager Dario Gradi is likely to name an unchanged side tonight.

“If you can score seven goals, I don’t care who you are, that takes some doing,” admitted Keane.

“We’re under no illusions. We have to roll up our sleeves and grind out a result.”

Murray was the star of the previous round, scoring one and setting up the other two in the 3-2 win at Exeter. It was the perfect way to mark his first team debut.

The 18-year-old Dubliner should make his third senior appearance this evening, as Keane confirmed.

“Ronan (Murray) was injured last week. He got a knock in training, but he’ll definitely be in the squad,” said Keane. “After his performance in the previous round, he has earned that.”

Gradi first became manager of his beloved Crewe in 1983, and he stayed in that position for the next 24 years to become the longest-serving manager in the Football League.

He stood down in 2007, but has since twice returned on a caretaker basis to manage the club.

Keane paid tribute to Gradi: “There are not many loyal people like Dario Gradi around in the game.

“He’s been a great servant to Crewe. He’s a rare breed.

“Football is in his blood, and he’d probably be lost not being in the game.

“He has resurrected players’ careers, especially from the north-west with players who have perhaps not made it at Everton or Liverpool. He’s a kind of father-figure,” added Keane.

Despite his side’s 7-0 win on Saturday, Gradi warned: “We won’t be getting too carried away.

“It’s a night where we want to enjoy ourselves. There probably won’t be that much between Derby and Ipswich.

“I’ve not met Roy (Keane) before but we’ll welcome him like we welcome all managers. It’s not about him, though, its about the team.”

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