Can Ipswich Town’s Carling Cup Run Save Roy Keane?

Coventry City v Ipswich Town Coca-Cola Championship Ricoh Arena 09/08/09 Ipswich Town Manager Roy Keane. Photo Patrick McCann/Fotosports International

Last night Ipswich Town defeated Premiership side West Bromwich Albion by a solitary Grant Leadbitter goal, to secure a place in the last four of the Carling Cup. 

The only team in the Championship remaining in the competition, this is a welcome boost for an Ipswisch side that is struggling for form and still reeling from a rout in the East Anglian derby last Sunday. 

Any jubilation or overzealous ambition was soon tapered though as it became clear that luck is not something in abundance at Portman Park at present, with the Tractor Boys drawing Arsenal in the semi-finals. 

Keane himself conceded that this was the “toughest draw we could have had” with West Ham and Birmingham avoiding the only member of the Premier League top six left in the competition. 

Earlier in the week Roy Keane was facing a tough examination of his ability to take the club forward, yet this result will lift the pressure albeit temporarily if Ipswich’s losing league run continues. 

The Carling Cup could be the key to the Irishman avoiding a P45, if Ipswich avoid a relegation dogfight, a surprise victory in the semi-final would most likely eclipse most of the negative feeling around the club’s league form this season. 

This would in turn be likely to buy Keane another season to improve the league fortunes of the Suffolk club. 

In a strange twist, going one step further, winning the competition outright would be likely to turn Keane from lame duck to hero within just a few months. 

The Carling Cup would represent the club’s first silverware since the days of Bobby Robson in the early eighties and give the Tractor Boys a Europa league spot making this year’s league form seem irrelevant providing the team stay in the Championship. 

These are all long shots but you have to be in it to win it and with the possible exception of their East Anglian rivals I am sure the entire football league will be willing Ipswich to upset the odds and go all the way, for the underdog story rather than an innate desire to save the career of a controversial Irishman.

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