Hatters plan changes for Hinkley challenge
STRONG Hatters are set to make a number of changes for their trip to struggling Blue Square North side Hinckley in their FA Trophy second round clash tomorrow, writes Mark Wood.
Injuries have ruled out the likes of top scorer Amari Morgan-Smith (hamstring), Keith Keane (hamstring), Shane Blackett, Dan Walker and Dean Beckwith, while combative midfielder Godfrey Poku is cup-tied following his loan spell at Southport.
Speaking at today’s press conference, assistant manager Alan Neilson indicated that a number of youngsters may be given the chance to shine, while the likes of Ed Asafu-Adjaye and Tommy Wright are also back in contention.
He said: “Dean Beckwith’s still out, he’s still struggling with his calf injury.
“Shane and Amari are getting closer but are still not right at the minute.
“Dan Walker will still be out for a while, he’s more of a long-term one.
“Apart from that it’s not too bad. Fingers crossed the players who played the other night, the injured players, did get any more of a reaction from that.
“We go into tomorrow’s game with the squad we had for Tuesday.
“JJ’s (O’Donnell) back from his loan, Lewis Kidd is back from his loan, Alex Lacey is back from his loan and they are available to be selected.
“If you look at the last round and the team we selected, the team that went out won 2-0. It could be the same team, it might not. It’s up to the gaffer and ourselves to select it.
“We will select the team that we think is fit to go out and win the game.
“We know we’ve got a good squad, they are good players and played a lot of league football.
“We are not disrespecting the competition but we have a good squad and can change it around a little bit.
“I said before and the gaffer’s said we’ve got a good squad together here now and there’s competition for places which you need at the football club.
“It’s a good game to use the whole squad to bring other players in who haven’t had a game recently.
“We will be making maybe one or two changes.”
The Hatters are also looking to carry on their fine run that has seen them win their last six games in all competitions.
Neilson continued: “We are also on a run which started with the win against Swindon Supermarine, we can keep on continuing and long may it continue.
“Winning football matches goes hand in hand and the confidence of the squad’s getting better and better.
“It’s five league games and five wins.
“We all know Tuesday (a 1-0 home win over Stockport County) we didn’t play great. I thought we defended well but decision-making in the final third wasn’t very good and I think you could see that.
“But we kept on going, kept on trying to play and eventually the goal came through the penalty.
“We’ve got to look at our games and keep winning our games and if we can put pressure on the top teams with the gap coming down then great. Yes they have got games in hands, but we’ve got points in the bag.
“They’ve (Fleetwood) got one thing to concentrate on, we’ve got two things, starting tomorrow with the game against Hinckley.
“We will take it one game at a time, looking to get another three points to try and put more pressure on.”
Victory would see Luton’s league trip to Barrow, scheduled for Saturday, February 4, rearranged for a midweek date, but Neilson was unconcerned by that prospect.
He said: “We don’t really look at that and we will take this game on Saturday as it comes and we will try to win it.
“We will respect them, they’re only one league lower than us. We’ve got to go there, pick a team to win the game and hopefully get through to the next round.
“It’s a good cup to win, the final’s at Wembley. We will be putting a decent side out tomorrow to win the game.”
On the challenge that Hinckley would provide, Neilson added: “Cards (Paul Carden) our chief scout went to watch them on Monday. They are decent side, I think it’s a decent outfit and the pitch is meant to be quite good so fingers crossed we can go there and have a good game of football.
“We saw in the last round they went away to Wrexham and beat them 2-1.
“Yes they are near the bottom of the league but as we all know when teams are playing against Luton Town they always raise their game.”