Brabs hails bare bones braves

SPIRITED Luton could have claimed victory at Mansfield despite being down to the bare bones according to manager Gary Brabin, writes Mark Wood.

Thursday, 25th August 2011, 12:40 pm

Town failed to take their chances in the first half and if they had done so, Brabin believe victory would have been on the cards.

He said: “I thought we could have won it overall, but in the end it was good to get an equaliser. I was delighted with the spirit in the second half.

“I thought we played some good football first half. We played enough good football to go two goals up maybe three, but then we went a goal down and it seems the same old story.

“Because we’ve not put them away it’s given them a bit of a lift.

“You go into half time thinking how has that happened. Probably before the game we would have taken a point.

“I was delighted with the way we applied ourselves to get the equaliser but a little bit disappointed because I thought we could have got all three points.”

On the injuries that have crippled his squad, Brabin continued: “After the game Saturday we had a few struggling and we were hopeful at least one would be available but that wasn’t the case.

“We were down to the bare bones and I was delighted with the squad. It was pure and simply injuries. Keith Keane had a dead leg which he got Saturday, that should definitely be clear by Saturday.

“Alex Lawless had a virus Saturday but wanted to play and consequently his hamstring felt a little bit tight so it would have been too much of a risk. Robbie Willmott has struggled to shake off that groin injury he has had since the start of the season.

“It gave Adam Watkins the chance to play his first full 90 minutes and push James Dance into the midfield three where I’ve wanted to look at him.”

However, attackers Danny Crow and Amari Morgan-Smith were handed starting spots, with Brabin saying: “Danny and Amari were in on merit whether we had the full squad or not.

“Amari Morgan-Smith has looked more like his old self the last couple of weeks.

“He is working really hard and has got near that form (of when he signed) again and got his starting place on merit.

“I thought Danny Crow was excellent when he came on Saturday and was one I wanted to start.”

The equaliser though meant Matthew Barnes-Homer missed out on his chance to shine in the final minutes despite being prepped to go on.

Brabin spoke with his striker on the halfway line after the game, and said: “I was going to put Barnesy on and go to 4-4-2 for the last few minutes for a bit more of a strikeforce.

“You psyche yourself up to come on and something like that happens and I’ve changed my mind.Barnesy I think he knows where he stands with me and that’s not detrimental.

“I think he knows what I think of him as a player and at the moment I want more out of him.”

But Brabin hasn’t fully discarded the traditional 4-4-2 formation, saying: “I love 4-3-3 and 4-4-2. The 4-4-2 is the traditional English system everyone is familiar with.

“I think we need to be adaptable. At the moment I’ve favoured the 4-3-3 more because it suits our players more.

“I think it suits us but I’m not against 4-4-2 and will certainly be using it again this season.”

On the controversy that saw Stags striker Matt Green booked after a clash that left Dean Beckwith on the floor, Brabin admitted he didn’t see it clearly but was disappointed Town didn’t end the game playing against 10 men.