Changes at the back are a must for Town boss Paul Buckle for Saturday’s visit of promotion rivals Forest Green Rovers, writes Mark Wood.
Greg Taylor’s error gifted lowly Barrow a 1-0 victory over Luton at Holker Street on Saturday and Buckle has vowed to shore up his defence.
Town are waiting on international clearance to enable new signing Wayne Thomas to play on Saturday, after joining from Greek club Veroia on Monday.
He said: “We’re waiting for international clearance at the moment, so I’m hopeful that can be done.”
“It was unlike me after the game to speak about Greggers. But I’m sorry I’ve tried everything with Gregs. I’ve put my arm round him, I’ve coached him, he’s gone on loan, he’s come back.
“But a big part of where we are at this moment in time at Luton Town is in the Conference.
“We have to have a back four that’s aggressive, end of story.
“At the end of the day if people lose their places on the back of that... There’s no time now to wait. We’ve got to put a back four together that wants to go and head it and clear it and do all the nasty bits, because we’ve got so much going for us going the other way.
“When you look at the Wolves game and you look at the Norwich game, everything’s on the floor and it’s all in front of you and it’s nice and we didn’t have any problem with that.
“What we have a problem with is a punt up the field. And it’s a mentality to want to head it and clear it, and if any player in Luton Town now doesn’t want to do that, they won’t play simple as that.
“They won’t play now. It’s my decision now, I pick the team, I’m responsible for the team. We’re at the halfway point and if you don’t know now what the league’s about you shouldn’t be here.”
Lathaniel Rowe-Turner will serve the first match of a three-game ban following his sending off at the weekend, while centre-half Simon Ainge will also be unavailable after picking up an injury in England C’s 1-0 ICT Tournament semi-final defeat to Turkey on Tuesday night.
He appeared with striker Andre Gray in that game, and Buckle revealed Ainge’s injury, saying: “I’ve got one with stitches in his foot and it’s Aingey, so he’s out which is unfortunate.
“Andre is OK. That is a disappointment that he’s picked up a knock, but that’s life.
“It’s probably the last thing that I need at the moment, but I don’t want to harp on too much about that.
“Aingey’s picked up a knock and that can happen any time and unfortunately that’s happened to us and we’re the ones left to bear the downfall of that.”
On how long he will be out for, Buckle continued: “About a week really. It’s a fairly bad gash, but Ainge is certainly someone that’s strong and he wants to come back.
“So he’s saying to Simon (physio Simon Parsell) that he wants to try and give it a go. But it’s a fairly bad cut and like I say it’s not ideal at the moment.”
But he’s hoping the recent additions of Thomas and fellow centre-half Steve McNulty will help to give the Hatters real steel and leadership at the back.
On the Thomas deal, Buckle added: “I’ve known him for a long time Wayne. I knew him as a kid way back when he started out at Torquay United as an apprentice and I followed his career and he’s no nonsense.
“He’s a good pro. You don’t get to the age that he is and have the moves that he’s had if you don’t do things right.
“I think being at Stoke speaks volumes. They’ve got a great defensive record and always have had under Tony Pulis.
“These are the type of people we need in the football club to give us a nice platform to go and play our stuff.
“It’s evident already in training with McNulty and Thomas that they talk, that they speak.
“And any team that’s going to do anything it needs leaders at the back and that’s what I’m looking for, I’m looking for leadership.
“I can lead from the side and I can lead day to day at the training ground and get a few things up and running, but come Saturday, especially at home where we’ve got 7,000 passionate fans, I need people on the pitch who can lead.
“And certainly when you got to places like Barrow in winter, I need some strong minds, some strong mentalities and some strong leaders and I think I’ve got that in them two.
“I just hope that Thomas can be available and get the clearance.”