Hatters look to lead Poppies a merry Dance

INFLUENTIAL midfield duo James Dance and Jake Howells should both be fit for Luton’s trip to Kettering Town on New Year’s Day, writes Mark Wood.

Dance has overcome a glute injury and will be hoping to see action against his form team at Nene Park, while manager Gary Brabin is hopeful Howells will overcome a knee knock he sustained in Monday’s 5-0 home win over the Poppies.

Speaking at today’s press conference, Brabin said: “It was just a whack on the knee which has given him (Howells) a bit of bruising and it’s a bit tender at the moment, but we are hopeful he will have shaken it off.

“We are hoping he will be available. He’s done some light jogging today, it’s the first day he has trained today since the injury.

“We are hoping he joins in with the group tomorrow and we are hoping he will be available for the game on Sunday.”

However, top scorer Amari Morgan-Smith and defenders Shane Blackett and Dean Beckwith are not available.

Brabin continued:”To be honest with you Amari’s had another bit of a setback on his hamstring.

“It’s set him back so certainly nothing’s going to be done in the next two weeks or so.

“I think the only injuries we’ve got at the moment are Amari Morgan-Smith, Dean Beckwith, Shane Blackett and like I said Jake Howells.

“Shane’s had a bit of a groin problem that is going to be another two or three weeks and Dean Beckwith pulled his calf and has a bit of a calf strain.

“There’s always the chance of rotating. We see the players day in day out and we see things happening or not happening before a matchday and we will make decisions based on that.

“There’s one or two we’ve had to wrap in cotton wool with slight injuries so we’ve got to assess during the week and that’s what we’ll do.

Hereford loan man Janos Kovacs will continue to be available selection, with Brabin saying: “It’s the wording of each contract but we have go Janos available.”

Brabin though was full of confidence after two great consecutive wins over Tamworth and Kettering.

He continued: “We are confident on the back of two good 90-minute performances and maximum points we can carry that into the next game.

“If we can produce what I know we are capable of that’s the way we want to do things.

“I’m pleased consecutively we’ve maximised points and given a good 90 minutes performance and that’s the way we want to do things.

“We’ve got to carry that on now and get that bit of consistency I’ve been asking for.”

The Hatters must be wary of the Poppies though, despite the financial difficulties they’ve been experiencing.

Brabin added: “There’s been a lot of talk of Wrexham’s problems and I think that’s galvansied them and look at them top of the league.

“And I’ve been in that situation myself, you’re fighting for your career and most people think you will lie down and die because there’s a few problems.

“I think it’s the reverse, I think players give their all and there’s no mugs there, they’ve got some good players at the club, they’ve played at a good standard and come from good clubs so we need to be no mugs.

“If we hadn’t of been on top of our game (on Monday) it could have been difficult for us as we proved in the first part of the season. It was just about us performing and I thought we did that on the day.

“We’ve got an expectancy about us anyway which we have to deal with all the time and rightly so.

“We know we can’t lower our standards, whether it’s expectancy or whether it’s the day to day stuff.

“The lads know what’s expected of them and we’ve just got to keep producing those performances.”