Hatters net Neilson with second on the horizon

Hatters were gifted an early Christmas present when former Crawley winger Scott Neilson signed until the end of the season on Monday, writes Mark Wood.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 24th December 2012, 4:00 pm

Having been released by Crawley, Luton were quick to move for the 25-year-old who has impressed while on loan at Conference rivals Grimsby Town.

The new signing tweeted: “Thanks for the messages, looking forward to another promotion! :-)”

And although he will not be able to play until New Year’s Day, boss Paul Buckle admitted he could be the first move in a busy January transfer window while hinting another deal was almost done.

Speaking before the deal was confirmed, Buckle said: “You never like to tempt fate, because it’s like buying a house. You can get gazumped in our country and it’s the same football.

“Until it’s actually signed and sealed and the player’s in the door, or players, you never like to disclose anything.

“Yes we’re quite a long way down the road with certainly one, maybe stroke two hopefully, and at the same time I’ve spoken to players at our club about their futures.

“They all want to play and, like I’ve said before, every player at the club has to have a realistic chance of getting in the first team.

“Unless they’re a real young one like an Ali Ann who has had a tough time with injury, or a 19-year-old.

“Everyone has to be realistically coming in every day with a chance of playing and improving all the time and wanting to improve because that’s the way I want to do things.

“If not then it’s probably not the place for them.”

Neilson was instrumental in Grimsby’s 4-1 win over the Town in September and has also played for Hertford, Ware, Cambridge City and League Two Bradford City.

He scored six goals in 31 games as the Red Devils won the Blue Square Bet Premier in 2010-11 and netted three times in 35 appearances last season as Crawley won promotion from League Two, including the all important promotion-clinching goal in the Sussex club’s 1-0 win at Accrington Stanley on the final day of the season.

Joint boss Paul Hurst admitted that Neilson had turned down the chance to stay with the Mariners.

He said: “I don’t think we’ll be seeing Scott in a Grimsby shirt again

“We thank him for his efforts and I think he appreciates the chance to come here and play, and to get his career back on track.

“But, as I’ve said, I can’t pick Grimsby up and move it. We’ve made Scott a good offer but I think he’ll be playing his football elsewhere.”

Luton are also known to be admirers of AFC Wimbledon wide man Christian Jolley, who also shone on-loan at Newport County as the Exiles thrashed Town 5-2 recently.

Buckle continued: “If a player’s contracted with another club, yes you have to wait for the window to open to actually play him and officially sign him.

“But you can talk to managers. If the manager gives permission to talk to a player yes you can cement things down ready.

“You can do that if a player is non-contract or out of contract, you can sign them now.

“You can do a bit of work now and whenever we can get ahead of ourselves we will do that.

“What you don’t want to do is be trying to fit it all in when you’ve got games as well.

“It’s a difficult time, I’ve got to tell you. You want to concentrate on the games, you have to, they’re so important.

“But at the same time trying to sign players and players going out, that’s not easy to get it in in the time-scales you’re looking at.

“We’ve had loads of conversations. Because I’m hell-bent on improving the squad, Gary (Sweet) is, and trying to take it forward.

“Like I said before, if you look at it and if you look at the squad, I don’t know how many months I’ve been here now, I’ve not been here an awful long time.

“There are still players at the club who I didn’t sign. Everyone’s been looked at, the squad’s constantly been looked at and January’s a big time for everybody.

“I’m trying to get it exactly how I want it, and hopefully by the end of the January window we’ll have pushed it on even further.”

A number of players also look set to move on, as Buckle added: “I’m looking forward to the window opening as well because I think that can freshen things up.

“I said this the other day, in terms of ins and outs, it’s a very good time for me and the players to have a look back, have a look at what we’ve done, how we’ve done it and where we can improve.

“Again it’s raising the bar all the time and January’s a really important time in the window. If you make the right moves now it gives you a great chance.

“There’s still so much football to be played, anyone that’s getting carried away with their performances or how they’re doing will come unstuck because there’s such a long way to go.

“The one pleasing thing for me and the players here is, I think whether you’ve seen us, win lose or draw we’ve been the same. I think that will stand us in good stead.

“I’ve got an idea of who will need to move out or go on loan to freshen it up.

“Players that aren’t getting in the team is the obvious one, people would know that in any team.

“And players themselves want to go and play football.

“I’ve got a good idea, of course I have, but the players get an opportunity on Boxing Day and again in quick succession after that to show us that they want to really, really be a part of what we’re doing and take us forward.

“We’ve got to kick on after January, we’ve really got to push on. The games will come and go really quickly and it’s an important time for us.

“We are well up for the challenge and want everybody pulling in the right directions. So far so good, where that’s concerned but I’ll be looking to raise the bar with things in the next window.”