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Ipswich Town's appointment of Manchester United coach Kieran McKenna praised by interim boss John McGreal

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Interim Ipswich Town boss John McGreal has hailed the club's decision to appoint Kieran McKenna as the permanent manager.

McKenna, 35, was named as Town's new boss last night – almost two weeks after Paul Cook had been relieved of his duties in the Portman Road dugout.

And McGreal, who will take charge of the team for the final time against Sunderland tomorrow with ex-Manchester United coach McKenna watching from the stands, believes the arrival shows the direction in which the club are keen to go.

Ipswich Town manager John McGreal speaking to iFollow Ipswich. Picture: ITFC
Ipswich Town manager John McGreal speaking to iFollow Ipswich. Picture: ITFC

"Kieran spoke to me last night when I was at the Youth Cup game and I briefly had a chat with him a couple of years ago when Colchester played Man United in the Carabao Cup quarter-final," said McGreal.

"You only have to look at his track record. The players that he's integrated into the first team, the players that he's actually coached, the managers he's coached under – it's a quality CV to be fair and I think it's a big appointment by the football club.

"It shows the football club, what direction it is going. It's a brilliant appointment and he'll need our backing as well. We'll all be here to give him that support."

With McKenna confirmed to be attending Portman Road for the visit of the Black Cats, McGreal was asked whether the new man would have any input either in terms of team selection or tactics.

It is something that the caretaker is 'open' to, but as it stands McKenna has told McGreal to continue with that responsibility until he takes full charge on Monday.

"I'm open to it, but he's said he wants us guys to take over this game and then he'll come in with a clean slate," he added.

"Again, he'll be in the stands and if he feels like he needs to make contact, we're open to that. There's not a problem at all, he's the new gaffer so whatever he wants we'll try and support him and supply for him."

McGreal also feels that McKenna's presence at the game should have a positive impact on the team's performance.

He noticed an extra spring in their step during training since the news as well, saying: "The training hasn't been a problem.

"The boys have been applying themselves really well in training, but now with that added bonus of the new gaffer coming in (and) they know the new gaffer is going to be in the stands, it just brings an extra step, an extra enthusiasm to it, which it always does.

"There's always a little bounce feeling when you know the new gaffer is coming in.

"It's all to play for. The starting XI know they've got an opportunity to showcase themselves while the manager is here."