Brabin not expecting Tamworth to be focusing on plum Everton tie

LUTON Town manager Gary Brabin doesn’t expect Saturday’s opponents Tamworth to have one eye on Premier League Everton when they sides meet at the Lamb Ground tomorrow, writes Mike Simmonds.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 16th December 2011, 2:41 pm

The Lambs travel to Goodison Park on January 7 in the third round of the FA Cup, but have three games in between that, starting with the Hatters visit.

Brabin said: “I think playing Luton in a league game will be a real big game for them as well, so if they weren’t focusing on that I’d be very surprised.

“It’s a tough game but they’ve got a nice pitch. I think Aston Villa reserves use it, so it can’t be bad.”

Town’s last visit to Tamworth ended in acrimony as they fell to a 3-1 defeat and manager Ricard Money became embroiled in angry scenes with his own supporters at the final whistle.

It’s an incident that Brabin isn’t focusing on though as he continued: “That’s all in the past, that’s definitely all gone now.

“I think everyone aired their views after it and it was quickly put away and until it was mentioned, I had forgot all about it myself.

“We’re not too bothered about past records or jinx teams. We’ve had a tough, hard training week and got across a lot of tactical stuff that we feel is important and are looking forward to the game.”

Tamworth have been one of the surprise packages this season, sitting comfortably in mid-table ahead of the likes of Darlington and Grimsby.

On whether the club had over achieved so far, Brabin said: “I think they have, in a lot of ways. There’s no expectancy or pressure on them, it’s a lot easier for them. Some of the bigger sides probably struggle going there, but we’ve just got to deal with that.”

The Lambs are under relatively new management in Marcus Law, who was brought in at the start of the campaign and Brabin said: “He’s done well. He’s quite shrewd in the market as well with players he brings in. He gets them working hard.

“I’ve watched then a couple of times. They’re well organised and work hard for each other.

“Iyesden Christie has always been a proven striker in this league and has always been a real handful, but we’re aware of their strengths and weaknesses.

“We’ve got to be on form and show our strengths in abundance on the day, which we’re more than capable of doing.”

The game marks the start of the busy festive period with weather permitting, Town playing four games in a short space of time.

With the campaign at the midway stage now, Brabin appreciated the importance of the next fortnight.

He sad: “I think it’s very important, it sorts a few things out. At this time of year with games being rearranged, it sort of messes things up.

“You can get into good form and then carry that on to the end of the season.

“I would have expected us to be in a higher position by now, I would have expected us to have more points on the board, but I’m still confident we’re heading in the right direction.

“It’s too early to start winning Football Leagues, it’s important that we finish strong.”

Leading scorer Amari Morgan-Smith remains out, while the game will come too early for the fit-again Ed Asafu-Adjaye, but both Alex Lawless and Jamie Hand are free from suspension.

Brabin said: “Amari is still a bit off. I said a couple of weeks last week and would still say a couple of weeks now. He’s doing a little bit of light training, but still hasn’t been able to start full training.

“Ed has stepped up to full training now. He’s going to be looking to get a game somewhere, a reserve or behind closed doors friendly, but he’s ready to get 90 minutes under his belt.”

Meanwhile, the boss admitted he has already made up his mind who out of Kevin Pilkington and Mark Tyler will start between the posts on Saturday.

When asked if he had selected his goalkeeper, he added: “Yes I have, but that would be unfair to say as I haven’t named the team yet.”

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