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Keogh: There is Still a Lot of Football to Be Played
Sunday, 5th Feb 2023 08:58 by Dave Gooderham

Richard Keogh has urged Ipswich Town fans to keep believing after their worrying inconsistency continued with a 1-1 draw at struggling Cambridge United.

A dismal first half performance at the Abbey saw Harvey Knibbs grab a 24th minute opener and Joe Ironside denied a second when his penalty was saved by Christian Walton.

Town improved after the restart but Freddie Ladapo’s 54th minute equaliser failed to be the catalyst for three precious points.

And while new leaders Sheffield Wednesday, as well as Derby and Bolton, continued their fine form, Ipswich’s push for promotion is currently stuttering at best.

But Keogh, selected ahead of Luke Woolfenden, said there was no panic inside the Town dressing room.

He explained: “We have always had the mindset of focusing just on the next game. We are not getting carried away, there is still a lot of football to be played and a lot of points to be played for.

“We know we are a very good team and we have put ourselves in a very good position. We focus on ourselves, we will reassess this game and see what we could have done better — like we do with every game.

“When you come to a big club like this, and you are challenging, you have to step up. There are always bumps in the road when you are trying to achieve something great. They are not ideal but they happen.

“The quicker you get over that, keep your head down, and keep working hard, the positive performances will come.”

And of supporters who are understandably concerned about the current form, and league table, Keogh added: “I get it. This club is so passionate. I learnt that as a young boy when I was here.

“I’ve played at previous clubs where fans are passionate and expect. As a player, I love that pressure and I thrive off it. We are all fans and we are all passionate and want our teams to do really well.

“Today, the support was amazing again. I think they have shown that throughout the season, how much they love the team and the connection between the team and the fans. We are going to need them as much as they need us.

“I think it is an exciting challenge and what I would say to fans is to keep being brilliant, as you have been all season. Let’s go together and that can be really powerful from now until the end of the season.

“When you are challenging to get promoted, as a player that’s exciting. It’s a great challenge and one we will keep trying to achieve.”

Analysing the game, Keogh admitted Town lacked intensity in the first half, but felt they at least deserved to leave the Abbey with a point.

He said: “I think first half was tough, for sure, I didn’t think that was us. We had control before their goal but we are used to hard running and sustained attacks and I just felt like we didn’t do that. Second half we did, hence why we got the goal, and we looked like the only team that was going to score.

“From our point of view, the first half was a little disappointing how we started that half and then Walts’ [Christian Walton] big save. But second half, I thought we deserved the equaliser.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game with Cambridge fighting for their lives and the pitch. They tried to block the middle and play round so it was up to us to try and find the rhythm a little better.

“When you associate us with our best, it comes with real hard running and good quality. I felt we were controlling the game but our intensity wasn’t there, with or without the ball.

“We suffered a little bit for that, but we went in at half time and put it right. I thought second half we sustained attacks, scored the goal, and looked like we were going to score more goals. Maybe just our final ball let us down a bit.

“Any game we go into, we try and win it — regardless of the opposition. We come to every game trying to win, whether that’s Sheffield Wednesday next week or Cambridge away.

“The league can throw up different challenges, I think we all recognise that and I think the league shows that. In a way, when you are 1-0 down and you have a penalty save, we will take the point. But ultimately we wanted to win the game.”

One moment of yesterday’s match in particular highlighted Keogh’s importance to the Town rearguard when he used all his experience to nullify the danger of United’s pacy frontman Sam Smith, without giving away the foul.

When asked about the incident, the defender said: “I’m a bit older now and don’t have the pace I used to have. But my experience and reading of the game can help me out in those situations.

“That’s why I’m here — to help the team in any moment — and I love doing that. Even when I’m not playing in the games, I feel like I am helping the group every day in training.”

While all eyes have been on a fascinating three-way battle for promotion, Derby County’s sixth straight league win now puts them two points behind Ipswich with a game in hand, level with Bolton in fifth, who have played a match more than the Blues.

Keogh, a former Rams player, said: “It shows how tight the league is. Derby are on a fantastic run, they have got a fantastic squad of players and have found a lot of rhythm. We can’t get too caught up on positions, we have to take care of ourselves and that’s the main focus.

“We know we have a big game coming up next week [at home to the Owls]. We just have to keep focused and keep trying to get as many points on the board as possible. I feel like we are confident that we can go on a run ourselves and that’s all we can worry about.”

With Tuesday’s FA Cup replay at Championship high-flyers Burnley next on the radar, Keogh expects to see some changes in personnel.

He said: “The FA Cup is a special competition. We have another tough game, for sure, but we will rest up and we have shown we can perform well against them.

“We’ve got a good squad and I am sure there will be rotation. It’s great to have a game so early and we have two weeks of Saturday-Tuesday so we will need everyone in the squad.

“Going away from home, it’s going to be a different challenge but again one to look forward to as a group. Any game is about momentum, so whether it is the FA Cup or the league, it’s another game for the group to attack.

“If we can get a positive result there, who knows - you might be in a quarter final. We will just approach the game in the right way. We will rest up now and look forward to that challenge.”

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Billysherlockblue added 09:10 - Feb 5
Yes there is bumps in the road but this road has been torn up since probably october and ye ase still spouting the same crap. Less talking of what ye should be doing and do it. As fans we expect bad results etc from time to time. But not giving 100 pec cent no matter what the result is not good enough. Pick the players who will give 100 like leigh etc. Not good enough richard. Played well against burnley but then comes the league and intensity drops woefully. STOP TELLING US WHAT YE SHOULD BE DOING AND DO IT. Give 100 per cent and we can still make top 2. Not every 3rd game or so. Very let down fan. Coyb

62WasBest added 09:19 - Feb 5
Lots of football to be played but no victories to be had.

LimerickTractorBoy added 09:21 - Feb 5
Don't think it's the time to be calling for KMcK to be sacked but please settle on our best 11 and play them for the next 17 games, or as appears more likely, 20 games. We desperately need to get out of this bloody league.

Stato added 09:30 - Feb 5
We need a new manager who realises Keogh should be nowhere near the starting 11 and only in the match day squad if everyone else injured. Our weakest defender.

PositivelyPortman added 09:31 - Feb 5
“Lots more football to be played” but preferably without Keogh.
He looks like a Sunday morning pub player, no pace and appears to have forgotten all about positional sense.

OldFart71 added 09:36 - Feb 5
Yes there are many games to go and points to be won. But various players have been wheeled out saying exactly what Keogh is saying half a dozen games ago. The more these games pass by without the results we need the less chance of catching Plymouth or Wednesday as yesterday showed instead of being four points behind them we are now six. With Derby highly likely to push us back to fourth. Questions will be asked, not only by supporters but I'd hazard a guess by Gamechanger if all this money spent doesn't achieve promotion this season and whilst McKenna's job shouldn't be on the line as in effect he's a rookey manager it will reflect on him as it's now his team.

ringwoodblue added 09:50 - Feb 5
Keogh has had a long career playing football but all that experience would be better channelled through coaching rather than actually playing in matches imho. We have very capable defenders like Woolfie, Fridge and Burgess who could all benefit from his help as they all still have lots of potential to improve.

Spamfortea added 10:06 - Feb 5
'There is still a lot of football to be played' has been the post Christmas mantra of this club for the past 4-5 seasons.

19 points from the past 13 league games is not promotion form.

If that continues to the end of the season we would finish with around 80 points. Maybe enough to scrape a playoff spot but not enough to be third let alone top two.

Plymouth had 80 points last season and finished 7th.

raycrawfordswig added 10:11 - Feb 5
All these draws are killing us

Carberry added 10:16 - Feb 5
What is he doing anywhere near the 1st team, he's a 36 year old with a busted knee. How does this fit into McK's philosophy?
'We know we are a very good team', maybe that's the problem, patting themselves on the back while being told they are the best squad in the league. Complacency will undo us if we are not careful, which is where the manager has to take responsibility.
And by the way let's not look at the table as it makes unhappy viewing, which is why Mr Keogh and his mates, and the manager only want to focus on the next game. Well, their focus hasn't been very sharp has it?

Texastom added 10:30 - Feb 5
Rolling out the same tune again……don't worry McKenna you have got Barnsley, Bolton and Derby away next month!
We could easily finish 7th now.
The biggest concern is McKenna cannot correct the mistakes or address the mental frailty. No get up and go, no tough it out on show.

barrystedmunds added 11:04 - Feb 5
There is! Our worry, as supporters is the fact that as a team, we've fallen off a cliff in regards to performances while all around us are upping their game and showing real intent on making automatic or at least the playoffs. These statements, frankly, after another less than impressive performance, are wearing a bit thin.

RegencyBlue added 11:29 - Feb 5
The whole season turned on the debacle at Charlton. Since then we have been very ordinary.

Can't see automatic promotion happening now and frankly I don't trust this bunch to handle the pressure around three playoff games.

TimmyH added 11:30 - Feb 5
Yawn! a lot of football for us to look underwhelming in...Keogh at the back doesn't fill me with confidence but then again who at the back does?

Suffolkboy added 12:33 - Feb 5
It's high time the players managed to not only analyse the present, and past BUT demonstrate they understand what ‘Resolve' means , what ‘fight ‘ is all about , what urgent team commitment and cohesion can bring AND above all showed they can turn the corner , tighten the screw and actually WIN !
It's becoming almost pathetic hearing and reading the ‘same old ‘ patient nonsense each week !
ALL of you players need to raise your game, heighten the focus, harness the strengths and overcome the opposition !
RK , you say well be correct ,but actions speak louder than words ,and you're selling us very short !!

tractorboybig added 12:43 - Feb 5
surely the responsibility lies solely with the manager who has no plan b, unable to use subs to make any difference and selects these players week in week out?

Dockerblue added 12:56 - Feb 5
With the amount of backroom staff now employed by the club there must be a sports psychologist in there somewhere? If there already is one he/she clearly isn't doing their job very well!

inghamspur added 12:56 - Feb 5
Missing the boat as far as automatic places goes I think now, even if we turn Wednesday over next weekend, as we simply don't have the consistency. That's partly due to the tinkering with the line up, especially at the back. Play offs looming large.

Northstandveteran added 13:14 - Feb 5
Oh so very predictable.

Expect the worst then you won't be disappointed.

The motto that has got me through being an Ipswich fan over the last miserable years.

blueboy1981 added 13:59 - Feb 5
Where do you see a worse Goal conceded than the Cambridge Goal yesterday ? - you'd be lucky to find one in Local Sunday League !!
And there's been others just as laughable since October.

SickParrot added 14:42 - Feb 5
It's hard to keep believing (that we can still get promoted) when we've only won 4 of our last 13 games and KM is unwilling to adopt a more direct approach when necessary.
As for Keogh, his knowledge and experience is welcome on the practice ground but I think it's now obvious that his inability to turn quickly and lack of pace indicate that he is a potential liability on the pitch. Is he really only 36? He looks older than me and I'm 63!

EssexTractor added 15:17 - Feb 5
For half a season we were getting promotion results , we then had a large squad , most important players available, and the playing staff looking to be a happy squad .
So at that point to what extent does the squad have “ a say “ in potential incoming staff.?
Mark Ashton ( and his associates) seem to be the driving forces in recruitment?
Is that more KMck( and his associates)?
Now we have an abundance of players but even with the five man substitute rule, six players are omitted , six players who “ on paper” are first teasers.
I hope that whomsoever brought in our extra four in January have not spoilt a happy ship, and that the decisions prove justifiable , because signs suggest something important is drastically wrong at present.
The supposed easy matches ahead are unbalanced by away fixtures at Derby Bolton Barnsley , and they are really the fixtures that cannot be lost .

EssexTractor added 15:19 - Feb 5
PS teamers , not teasers , I hope!!!

PimsNumber1 added 16:17 - Feb 5
We've talked off alarmingly since Chalton and it's looking like the same old Ipswich , strong starts till around Xmas then .......
McK sounds great but he's always saying ..wecwill learn blah ....but same old mess ups each week now.
No idea if Carrick was available but he has transford Boro from in the relegation zone to 3rd....think we should have gone for him out of the Man U assistant's.Intelligent underrated footballer and did very well in his 4 Man U games.Too late now....but we are going nowhere but backwards now .Drawing with teams like Cambridge is so poor.Evans morsy and others look poor lately and how do u pick Keogh over burgess and wolf.Fridge was poor ....A guess is the dressing room isn't that happy

surgery added 16:52 - Feb 5
This squad is far too big. It seems like McKenna has to keep rotating/substituting unnecessarily just to keep them all happy

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