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Keane emerges as favourite for Ipswich post

Ipswich chief executive Simon Clegg says the club are close to appointing a replacement for sacked manager Jim Magilton, with Roy Keane believed to be close to signing a deal.

Keane has not managed a club since leaving Sunderland last December and is the front runner for the position, with some sources claiming he will be appointed in the next 24 hours.

Bookmakers have reported a surge of activity on the former Republic of Ireland midfielder; while Glenn Hoddle, Alan Curbishley and Alan Pardew are also viewed as competitors for the vacant post.

Magilton was axed by owner Marcus Evans after nearly three years in charge at Portman Road as the club failed to reach the Championship play-offs. His assistant John Gorman has also left, with Bryan Klug confirmed as caretaker boss in the interim.

Magilton was the fourth longest serving manager in the Championship until his departure and Clegg told Sky Sports News that fact demonstrated Ipswich are not a club to hire and fire easily.

"I think what is important is that we do aspire to success at this club and we need to make sure that we have got the right manager who can deliver," said Clegg, who was only appointed to replace Derek Bowden in the boardroom on Tuesday.

Asked if the club have got a successor in mind, Clegg responded: "All I can tell you is that process is underway.

"We are closing in on making an appointment and hope to make an announcement in the near future but I can't give you any timescale in regards to that."

He added: "We are now starting to speak to other people and we are close to making an appointment.

"We want to see someone who is absolutely 100 per cent professional, passionate and who can take this club to the place where we aspire it to be and hopefully has got some sort of track record in delivering that himself," he said.

Asked if that was promotion from the Championship or someone with wider experience in the game, Clegg replied: "I think I want to leave that fairly wide at this moment in time - we are very clear within our own minds in terms of the criteria of the sort of person we are trying to attract to this club and we are closing in on an appointment."

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