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Roy Keane fired by Ipswich

Ipswich have sacked manager Roy Keane after just 20 months in charge of the Championship strugglers, the Press Association and Irish media sources report.

The former Ireland and Manchester United captain has paid the price for a run of seven defeats in nine league games which has left the club in 19th place and just three points above the relegation zone.

Keane, 39, guided Town to 15th in his first full season in charge and have a Carling Cup semi-final first leg against Arsenal at Portman Road next Wednesday after Sunday's FA Cup third-round tie at Chelsea.

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First-team coach Ian McParland will take charge for the game at Stamford Bridge.

Keane won 28 and lost 28 of his 81 games in charge of the Tractor Boys since taking over from Jim Magilton.

In a statement issued by The League Managers Association, Keane said: "I'm hugely disappointed to be leaving Portman Road.

"Results haven't been as good as I'd have hoped so far this season and when results aren't good the manager gets the sack, that's the game.

"However, I have a genuine belief we were making progress and that the players have what it takes to turn this season around.

"We were preparing well for our visit to Chelsea on Sunday and then our Carling Cup semi with Arsenal. Getting to that semi proves what I know the team is capable of.

"I was also working hard to build the squad during the transfer window, looking at our options to attract new players to the club.

"I have loved my time at Ipswich, living locally to the club with my family, and have a massive respect for the club, its staff, the fans and the community and I wish them well."

LMA chief executive Richard Bevan added: "Roy is one of the most committed and dedicated managers in the game and without a doubt leaving Ipswich will be very disappointing for him.

"Roy's departure, though, typifies him, in his honest and forthright appraisal of his departure.

"This season's run with the club in the Carling Cup is testament to his ability in getting the best out of his team in big games and it is disappointing he has not been given the opportunity to lead out Ipswich in their first cup semi-final for thirty-odd years."