Buckle glad to have avoided new manager Money effect

Relieved Luton manager Paul Buckle is glad that Saturday’s FA Cup fourth round qualifying tie at Cambridge United is not Richard Money’s first game in charge of the U’s, writes Mark Wood.

The ex-Hatters boss took charge at the Abbey Stadium earlier this month and made a flying start as Cambridge beat Mansfield 4-1 in Money’s first match at the helm.

A 2-1 defeat at Woking and a goalless draw at Gateshead have followed and Buckle is pleased to have avoided the new manager effect, even if they will still have to face former Luton wing wizard Robbie Willmott who is back in favour under the new regime.

Speaking at today’s press conference, Buckle said: “I’m pretty pleased we’re not playing them in the new manager’s first game because you saw what happened there.

“They had a very good return with the scoreline, but they’ll still be in good spirits and like I say it’s a game they’ll really want to win, they’ll be up for, and I’m really looking forward to it.

“I’m sure everybody knows him really well. I don’t know him that well to be honest, I’ve not come across Richard before in football so it’s a first for me.

“But it’s one where we’ll be ultra respectful again in terms of our approach to the game and our preparation as always and the second things is we’ve looked at their strengths and their weaknesses, but it will be about what we do.

“It’s a tough first draw in terms of being away against arguably our nearest rivals and with a new manager I’m sure they’ll be up for the game.

“I hope it’s a really good game, I hope it’s one where we can come out and express ourselves as well.

“We know a fair bit about each other, we’ve only just played each other a little while ago but a lot’s changed at their club since that game and I think their players will still be looking to impress the new manager.”

And while Buckle would prefer to be at home, he is confident Town can win out having tasted success in the FA Cup in the past.

He said: “It’s a welcome break, we leave the league in good form in terms of four wins out of five so I’m absolutely delighted with that and now it’s on to the FA Cup.

“It’s a big game, a big game when it was drawn out and it’s an exciting one for everyone.

“I’m always a bit wary to tempt fate, but it’s a fact, I’ve really enjoyed some good cup runs, I really look forward to the FA Cup and I try and make that rub off on the players.

“As a player it was a long time ago. I had some decent runs as a player but as a coach now and a manager now I take great pride in trying to get an FA Cup run.

“I think all of our players and staff are looking forward to it. It’s going to be a tough game, it’s an away game.

“I think in the draw you always look for a home game first so they’ve got the advantage there.

“But I’m sure we’ll take a lot of fans to the game and if we play to the very best of our ability then we can cause them some problems.

“But, having said all of that, I think if you look at our record of late we are in excellent form.

“And I think in our last game we showed so many different qualities. One being go to the very end and our fitness levels have been exceptional.

“So it’s been nice to have a week with the chaps, give them a little bit of rest as well.

“It’s been a tough two games the last couple of games, tough games. The grounds are getting heavy now, it’s FA Cup and anything happens in the FA Cup in terms of upsets.

“I just want the players to go and enjoy the game and stay in the same vein as what they’ve been playing in.

“My focus is on what we do and that’s served me well and that’s served the lads well.

“We are in good shape in the league, we’ve put in some excellent performances this year and we want to add to it.

“I said a few weeks back we’re not the finished article yet, we’ve still got a lot of work to do, but it’s an opportunity again for us to go out and express ourselves and show what we are all about and try and get into the hat for the next round.”

Former winger Willmott flourished under Buckle at the tail-end of last season and somewhat surprisingly departed Kenilworth Road in the summer.

On whether the key was shackling him, Buckle added: “I think we have to contain all of their players. It would be silly of us to concentrate on one one player.

“We won’t do that, they’ve got lots of good players - but so have we.

“Every time I talk about the opposition I can’t wait to sandwich it with my players, because we’ve got some good players at my club and there’s a great spirit around the place, a great togetherness and you saw that in the last games in terms of our will to win the game and the players’ endeavour.

“So I’ve got lots to be thankful at Luton with the group that we’ve got. They’re a pleasure to work with they really are.”