Ipswich have confirmed that their search for a successor to Roy Keane is "at an advanced stage".

Keane became the latest npower Championship manager to lose his job after a 20-month tenure at Portman Road was brought to an end on Friday morning. Ipswich chief executive Simon Clegg confirmed the club's search for a successor is gathering pace, although he refused to comment on speculation linking Paul Jewell with the post.

"We are in the process of looking for a new manager and that is at an advanced stage. I'm not going to speculate on who the manager might be or fuel the speculation," said Clegg on the club's official website, itfc.co.uk.

And Clegg confirmed that the new manager will be saddled with the same high expectations which dogged Keane's reign.

He added: "We know the type of manager we are looking for. The brief will be to take Ipswich Town back into the Premier League."

Former Manchester United midfielder Keane arrived in East Anglia to great fanfare in April 2009 and Ipswich beat Cardiff 3-0 in his first game at the helm. However, despite spending £8million in the transfer market thanks to the backing of multi-millionaire owner Marcus Evans, Keane failed to deliver the results required.

His first full season at in charge began disastrously, with no win in the first 14 games before rallying to finish 15th, while the current slump leaves Town just three points above the relegation zone.

"I'm hugely disappointed to be leaving Portman Road," said Keane in a statement released through the League Managers Association.

"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-final 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."

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Ipswich Town
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