MK Dons are set to beat Ipswich to the free agent signing of Richard Keogh. The 33-year-old centre-half has been without a club since his controversial sacking by Derby last October and he has had various offers, one from Ipswich – where he played from the age of eight to 16. But Keogh has been impressed by Milton Keynes and the vision of the manager, Russell Martin, and is ready to commit to them.
Keogh suffered serious knee ligament injuries last September when he was a passenger in the car that his then Derby teammate, Tom Lawrence, crashed into a lamppost after a boozy night out. Lawrence had first gone into the back of a car driven by another Derby player, Mason Bennett. Lawrence and Bennett would admit to drink-driving and failing to stop at the scene of an accident when they appeared at Derby magistrates court. They avoided jail sentences but each was ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid community service and banned from driving for two years.
It was Keogh who bore the brunt of Derby’s disciplinary action. The club fined Lawrence and Bennett but they terminated Keogh’s contract, which was due to run until June 2021, citing gross misconduct. At the time, Keogh’s injuries were expected to rule him out for between 12 and 15 months. His rehabilitation has gone well and he hopes to be back playing in October.
Keogh, capped 26 times by the Republic of Ireland, was a stalwart for Derby. He joined in 2012 from Coventry and started 316 of their 330 Championship matches before the crash, plus all 10 of their play-off games. He has battled through a mentally and physically demanding rehabilitation and is driven by the prospect of reigniting his career at League One level.