January 07, 2011

IPSWICH, England (AP) -- Roy Keane was fired as manager of Ipswich on Friday after the former Manchester United and Ireland captain failed to put the east England club in contention for promotion to the Premier League.

The 39-year-old Keane won 28 of 81 matches during 21 months in charge of the second-tier side and leaves Ipswich 19th in the 24-team League Championship.

Ipswich was ninth when Keane took over in April 2009. His predecessor, Jim Magilton, was fired for failing to guide the former UEFA Cup champion into the promotion playoffs.

"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,'' Keane said in a statement released through the League Managers' Association. "However, I have a genuine belief that we were making progress and that the players have what it takes to turn this season around.''

Ipswich, which is set to face Chelsea in the third round of the FA Cup on Sunday, has qualified for the League Cup semifinals and hosts Arsenal in the first leg on Wednesday.

"Getting to that semi proves what I know the team is capable of,'' Keane said. "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.''

Ipswich chief executive Simon Clegg said the club had already begun talks with potential replacements but that first-team coach Ian McParland will take charge of the team this weekend.

Keane led Sunderland from the League Championship relegation zone to promotion as champion in his debut season as a manager in 2006-07. He kept the Black Cats in the Premier League for a season but then quit in December 2008.

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