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Keane: We Want to Go All the Way
Wednesday, 9th Oct 2019 11:21

Striker Will Keane says he and his team-mates are aiming to go all the way in the Trophy having reached the knockout phase by comfortably defeating Gillingham 4-0 at Portman Road last night.

Keane, playing his first full 90 minutes of 2019/20, netted the Blues’ fourth goal, opening his account for the season having re-signed on a permanent deal in August following his loan spell in the second half of the last campaign.

“It was really enjoyable,” the 26-year-old reflected on the game. “Obviously we wanted to carry on the winning form from the league and we managed to do that, which was nice.

"A convincing performance, nice to get a clean sheet and a few more goals for the fans to cheer.”

Keane says the competition is proving a useful one with players such as himself on the way back from injury able to get minutes under their belts, while youngsters have also been introduced and made an impression.

“Is’s massively beneficial for lads who haven’t had the minutes in the league, first-team players, it’s great for them to build on that and for the young lads to get the opportunity to show what they can do,” he said.

“We saw Dobs [Armando Dobra] come on again at half-time and make a great impact and Hughesy [Tommy Hughes] coming on at the end making his debut was great to see. So, it’s a big competition for us and we want to go all the way.”

He added: “We’ve made a good start and we’ve obviously got that winning feeling now and we want to keep that going. That’s obviously a good habit to have.

“We’ve got a big squad so I think we’ve got the added bonus that we can put strong teams out, even rest players but still it was pretty much a first-team XI tonight, as you saw. So yeah, we want to keep kicking on and go all the way.

“It’s nice to get [qualification for the next phase] sorted, we’ve got another one of these sorted next month, so that’s another good opportunity for some of the lads who have not been playing. It’s enjoyable.”

Keane is a big fan of 19-year-old Dobra, who now travels to join up with the Albania U19s squad: “He’s a massive talent. We’ve seen it in training, to be fair, and the manager’s spotted that and put him in.

“He’s only a slight lad but he keeps going and he’s got great balance, he’s a strong lad and you can see his ability, his dribbling with the ball is great and he’s got a bright future.”

Regarding Hughes, 18, who came on in central midfield, he said: “I thought you could see when he came on, he likes to get on the ball, he’s got a great range of passing, he was spraying it about and he showed that confidence.

“To be fair, I think all the young lads that come and train with us all lift it and they look very bright and they’re desperate to do well. It’s great to see.”

Keane was playing his first game after suffering a minor groin problem, which saw him miss the last two matches.

“It’s been frustrating, obviously it was nice to get minutes in the MK Dons game, nice to get a good hour plus there and contribute,” he said.

“And then I’ve just had a little niggling groin injury but I think coming back from my hamstring injury I’m going to get little niggles and it’s probably just a case of managing it.

“Hopefully getting this 90 minutes tonight is hopefully a big step in the right direction and if I get a couple more under my belt I’ll have all those niggles behind me and I can kick on.

“I picked it up in the warm-up at Gillingham a few weeks ago. The pitch wasn’t the best, it was quite dry and just had a shot and tweaked my groin a little bit.

“It was something out of nothing really but last weekend it still wasn’t quite right, so it made sense just to rest it.

"Obviously there are plenty of games coming up and with Nors [James Norwood] having this little procedure it made sense to rest that and get myself right for the next game.”

The former Hull City man believes he’s not too many more games away from full fitness: “Maybe another couple of full 90s. Because I didn’t have a pre-season, that was my first 90 minutes in quite a long time, so I’m probably still in that phase.

"But I feel good, I got through that well and I’m just looking to get a few more as soon as possible really.

“I feel good, obviously the goal helps as well. You don’t feel as tired when you nick a goal, do you? It was good.

“It was an added bonus to get the goal but the main aim was to get through the 90 minutes. We’ve got no game at the weekend so it was a good chance to get that in the bank and then rest and prepare for Accrington next weekend.”

Keane underwent hamstring surgery early in the summer but says he’s having no problem with that: “It feels great, feels fine, no issues with that, which is good.”

The one-time Manchester United trainee was pleased to get off the mark regardless of the competition.

“Of course, even though it was in this cup, a goal’s a goal, especially at Portman Road, it was nice to get it in front of the fans,” he continued.

“I’m underway, it’s definitely helps the confidence and I sort of had to be patient in that half, it went a little bit flat, I didn’t get involved too much but I kept my cool and it was nice to to see it go in.

“I think sometimes when they look so easy they’re probably more difficult. You have a few different things go through your head, a few different options but I just thought I needed to focus and saw a gap appear near-side so just slotted it.

“I was debating whether to dink it over him but I didn’t want to waste it, it was my only chance really in the game and I thought I didn’t want be too tricky and mess it up, so it was nice to see it go in the back of the net.”

Keane says it’s a big positive for the Blues that there are players scoring from all over the pitch at present.

“You can see that there are goals from different positions,” he added. “Ems [Emyr Huws] got a great strike and it’s good for strikers.

"We know that if he’s got the opportunity, chances are he’s going to have a strike and we make sure we’re following it in and you’re going to get rebounds.

“We saw with that with Jacko’s [Kayden Jackson] goal at the weekend. Another good effort from Garbs [Luke Garbutt] and an easy goal for us, so there’s goals in the team and it’s nice to see everyone chipping in.”

Keane says everyone in the squad has bought into manager Paul Lambert’s rotation policy.

“I think to go all the way you’ve got to have that strength in depth and the lads understand it,” he said.

“I’m sure everyone wants to play every game and it gets frustrating at times but nights like tonight, where we put in good performances, everyone’s knocking on the manager’s door and giving him something to think about.

“We’re all keen to play and we’ve just got to make sure when we get called up we do the job.”

Keane could be in line for some involvement against Accrington with Norwood having undergone groin surgery in Germany earlier this week, although the Blues’ number 10 is expected to be fit for the trip to the North-West a week on Sunday.

“Potentially yes,” Keane reflected. “Hopefully he has a quick turnaround and gets himself right soon.

“But if I’m called upon it’s a good opportunity for myself to get in the team and help keep the run going. Whether it’s from the bench or starting, I’ll make sure that I’m ready.”

He admits he’s itching to start a League One game: “Yes, definitely. I’ve been here for a good month plus now, especially when you see the lads doing so well and doing so well, you want to be a part of it.

“But I knew I might have to be patient and it’s a good thing that it’s giving the manager something to think about and the fact that we’re doing so well, that’s what we all want and everyone’s supporting each other, so we’ve got to keep it going.”

However, he knows it makes sense for players such as himself not to be pushed too much when coming back from injury,

“Exactly, maybe in the past if lads haven’t been quite ready but we haven’t got the strength in depth in the squad, they’ve had to push lads back too soon,” he continued.

“You’ve probably seen it with Toto [Nsiala] as well, he’s had his hamstring issue but he’s played quite a few ressies game and, as you saw tonight, he’s looking really strong and ready to go.

“But we’ve been so solid at the back, there’s no real rush to get him back, that’s just the way it’s been. You’ve just got to keep patient and hopefully get a chance soon.”

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midastouch added 11:59 - Oct 9
If we could go all the way without even playing our full-strength team that would be some achievement. Confidence seems high around the place so who knows! If we did reach the semi-final stage you can't help but wonder whether Lambert would gamble on a few more of the regular starters with Wembley looming on the horizon.
Promotion is the be all and end all target this season but if we can get a lovely day out at Wembley without jeopardising the promotion push then what a lovely bonus that would be!
A cautionary tale might be Portsmouth who were top of the league at this time last year I believe but only ended up 4th by the end of the season missing our narrowly by 3 points on automatic promotion, although I think they also had an inferior goal difference than Barnsley. They had scored 3 more but leaked 12 more goals than Barnsley. The obvious question that needs to be asked is did the distraction of the EFL Trophy cost Pompey 4 vital points last season? I'm not sure how clever they were with team selections and whether they played mostly reserves until the business end, so can't really say with too much certainty. But I'm sure if you had of asked most Pompey fans last season what they would prefer out of promotion or the EFL Trophy there wouldn't have been too many takers for the latter rather than the former!

wkj added 12:07 - Oct 9
Don't we all Will, don't we all. Sadly Mrs WKJ often has a headache now a days.

barrystedmunds added 12:51 - Oct 9
I went all the way once! It’s not all it’s cracked up to be😂😂😂

ITFCsince73 added 12:53 - Oct 9
As I’ve said, roll on the FA cup 3rd round.
That’s our next available chance to play anyone decent.
We have the strongest squad outside the Championship, by a million miles imo.
And the best and most experienced management team to go with it.

nathitfc89 added 13:19 - Oct 9
i would rather get a whole nights sleep then go all the way haha. All joking aside, if we can continue playing a second string team in the competition and it wont effect our league performances then bring on wembley.

BlueySwede added 14:07 - Oct 9
Our performance yesterday illustrates a change in attitude throughout our club. A couple of years ago you never got the feeling that there was much hunger from our fringe players. Hopefully this attitude will continue in to the FA Cup, it would be nice to knock at least one or two teams out this time around.

cat added 14:39 - Oct 9
When you look at where the club is currently at, albeit in a lower league, it’s all becoming quite clear exactly what damage the ‘anti footballing, fan disrespecting Dino was all about in the second half of his tenure. Sexy football in league 1, I’ll have some of that. 🖕

VanDusen added 16:21 - Oct 9
And people say Mick doesn't move on! We finished top half of the Championship 4 seasons out of 5 on a ludicrously low budget under him. The damage was caused when the supporters turned on him and we got to.find out what bad really looks like under Hurst. What it does show is how positive things can be when we stick together - as indeed we were when we reached the play offs under Mick. I hope Lambert can do as well if he gets us up - but more importantly when we inevitably have to play more cautiously against big budgets the haters don't pop back out. From what I saw against Luton earlier this season we still have a long way to go a level back up...

therein61 added 17:05 - Oct 9
Gillingham pitch a bit dry? must have used Evans as a roller knew there had to a reason other than a footballing one for him getting the job.

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