Buckle ready for Town’s fixture backlog

Town boss Paul Buckle is more than ready for the fixture backlog that comes with his side gunning on three fronts this season, writes Mike Simmonds.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 4th January 2013, 12:04 pm

Hatters are at home to Wolves in the FA Cup third round on Saturday, while they are also in FA Trophy action the following weekend too.

Rearranged games mean that Luton are playing Saturday/Tuesday for the next four weeks, but when asked about the congestion, Buckle said: “I wanted this to happen this season. When I came to the club I wanted us to be in every competition.

“I know we’re going to be hindered by a backlog of games, I realise that. But at the same time I know that I’d much rather be winning games and winning in competitions, have you guys (press) here focusing on a big games against Wolves rather than being knocked out by a lower team earlier in the competition.”

Both teams enter the game after poor results as while Luton were disappointingly being beaten 3-1 at Woking on New Year’s Day, Wolves went down by the same scoreline at Crystal Palace.

Buckle continued: “It’s nice to get away from what we saw in the last game. We were loose, we didn’t play the game right. There is such a contrast between this game and the Woking one though.

“The pitch was terrible and we never got to terms with it. That was our fault, we never played the right way on that pitch.

“We’ve got a few things to iron out before the game, put that to bed. We won’t brush it under the carpet, we need to discuss that and need to focus.

“It will be a different game, we’ll have to be on our guard and at our very, very best if we’re going to stand any chance.”

While many expect Town to fall at the third hurdle this weekend, Buckle is looking to cause an upset and go even further in the competition.

He continued: “We’re hoping for that and what will give the players strength is that it’s happened before. There’s upsets in the FA Cup, but we’d really like to be in the fourth round.

“It’s not good enough to just want it, we’ve got to be good enough to do it. We’ve got two days left to work on how we’re going to stop them and how we’re going to cause them problems ourselves.”

Just how Luton will go about trying to defeat a side who were mixing it with the likes of Manchester United and Arsenal recently is something that Buckle already has experience of in his time in charge of Torquay and Bristol Rovers.

He said: “When the name comes out of the hat you say to yourself, right we could get a right thumping here or we can work hard, be organised and know what we’re doing and we’ll be doing the latter.

“If the shoe was on the other foot, the longer they are in the game the doubt creeps in, it’s human nature, I’ve seen it before.

“If they get an early goal their tails will be up and we’ll have to open up leaving gaps and spaces. With the players they’ve got in their team that will be very dangerous. If we can hold out and frustrate them but still have enough about us to go forward that will be the way for me.

“There’s a lot more structure to the game. The higher you go up there is more structure.

“If you go chasing, they’ll pick you off. Sometimes it can be a little bit easier to coach as when a team loses the ball you can coach to shadow and when to press and when not to press.

“In our league the ball changes hands on quite a regular occasion, so you have to be more alert.

“I have been in this position before. A few years back we (Torquay) ran Coventry really close, so I know how to set a team up for this and the key is handling the pressure and being able to perform on the day.

“I wouldn’t want to come away having not laid a glove on them. We’ll have to be switched on, we have to be right, we will go for it, no doubt about that, we will go for it. Our crowd will demand we do that.”

With £67,500 on offer for the winners of Saturday’s match, Buckle is well aware of the financial incentive that comes from a cup run too as he added: “When you’re managing lower clubs, there’s a huge money side of it. It’s massive and can be the difference between bringing a player in or not.

“Also keeping a club on its feet like when I was at Torquay and you do get the chance to play against higher opposition. That’s what you want as a coach, you mustn’t fear it, that’s what I’m getting into the players.”

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