Hatters boss Paul Buckle has backed striker Jon Shaw to hit the heights after his return from injury during the FA Trophy in midweek, writes Mike Simmonds.
The summer signing has managed just three goals in what has been truncated campaign so far, with a number of minor injuries plus a three game suspension, restricting his impact.
Shaw played the full 90 minutes as Luton eased past Dorchester on Tuesday night and Buckle believes he can show the Hatters supporters the form that saw him net over 30 times for previous club Gateshead last season.
He said: “Shaw coming back was fantastic. Jon’s not got the goals he would have liked but he’s struggled with a few injuries.
“Sometimes that can happen when you’ve had a full season like he had last year, got bundles of goals, sometimes you get a kick back.
“He was never going to go through season after season without an injury, or any set backs, and he’s had a few set backs.
“We’re hoping this is the last of them now and he can stay fit and get a run of games. He’s capable of scoring hat-tricks, capable of scoring a brace and I’ve still got a sneaky feeling he’s going to score a lot of goals for us because he works very hard, takes his game very seriously and is looking forward to showing all the Luton fans and everyone why we brought him to the club.”
Shaw himself was delighted to be out of the treatment room and explained the problem that he had been struggling with.
The striker said: “It’s been a frustrating five weeks. I had a couple of niggles and a couple of set backs but it was good to get 90 minutes, a win and being captain, I couldn’t really ask for much more.
“I’ve still got a little bit of tendinitis in the top of my knee which in turn ending up causing the tear in the right side of my thigh.
“Once we got to the bottom of it we managed to calm it down so it’s about maintaining it, but I’m moving freely, enjoying it and I’m not worried about it.”
With Andre Gray and Scott Rendell starting to forge an understanding upfront with the pair being Buckle’s preferred option in recent matches, then Shaw’s route back into the side isn’t going to be easy, as fellow forward Stuart Fleetwood is finding out.
Buckle added: “Stuart’s come out of the side and he’s the top scorer, but Andre’s been scoring goals.
“Him and Rens have done well but this happens in football, I always say the best policy is to be honest.
“With Fleets, I didn’t feel the need to play him in game the other night. He’s such a valuable asset to us, he’s had enough minutes this year that I didn’t feel I needed him to play.
“You have to manage the situation. As long as you’re honest with the players and give them the reasons you’ve got.
“Andre and Scott know that they’ve got to do the business as we’ve got Shaw fit for Saturday on the bench if we go that way, alongside Fleetwood, while I’m not afraid to play all four of them again either.”
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