Hayrettin dedicates victory to stricken Smith and ill boss Still

United Hatters dedicated their 6-0 demolition of Kidderminster Harriers yesterday to stricken midfielder Jonathan Smith, writes Mark Wood.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 29th December 2013, 1:33 am
Luton Town v Kidderminster Harriers. Photos by Liam Smith. wk 01.
Luton Town v Kidderminster Harriers. Photos by Liam Smith. wk 01.

It was Town’s first game since the combative midfielder suffered a double leg break in the Boxing Day victory over Barnet, while manager John Still was also missing from the sidelines with a stomach problem.

First team coach Hakan Hayrettin said: “Nothing fazes me in football, but what happened on Boxing Day did, that goes to Smudger, we wish him a speedy recovery.

“The boys dedicated that victory to him and we hope he’s back very, very quickly and of course our leader, our manager wasn’t here today.

“He made a statement the other day that if any one of the staff couldn’t be here the team would still go out and do the job and that’s exactly what happened.”

A number of players paid tribute to Smith after the game, sending him ‘good luck’ and ‘get well soon’ messages, with striker Andre Gray displaying an undershirt in his honour after the final whistle.

Hayrettin revealed Smith’s operation had gone well and backed him to come back from injury, in contrast to the problem that had ended his own career.

“I haven’t spoken to him, but I know he wants a bit of time to himself now,” he said.

“He’s had the operation, I believe it’s gone OK, I also believe that hopefully this week coming in front of us we are going to go and visit him and see how he is.

“We want him back as quickly as possible. He’s an unsung hero for this football club, he’s been instrumental in everything that we’ve done so far this season.

“And that victory today was dedicated to him for sure.

“I had to end my career through injury and I’m sure that he’s a stronger character than me. Hopefully he’ll come back and he’ll be better than ever.”

While the operation may have gone well, Hayrettin knows nothing is certain and hopes some decent results can help to boost Smith’s morale.

“The prognosis is that it’s looking OK, but you never know do you with these things. It’s been a success the operation, that’s all we know at this present moment in time.

“Obviously he’s got to get used to them crutches either today or tomorrow or the next day and hopefully we can go again, but we want him back amongst us as quickly as possible. The only thing we can do right now is to get him better with results.”

Dodgy prawns, meanwhile, had forced Still to miss the game and, with the Luton chief not keen on anything spicy, it was just as well he missed Town’s tasty performance against Harriers.

Hayrettin continued: “John’s got a dodgy stomach, he doesn’t like anything spicy, I don’t know if it was anything spicy, it was just prawns I was told.

“I will be speaking to him and hoping he makes a speedy recovery and he’s back with us at the helm on Monday morning.”

The Town coach was delighted Still’s side had been able to win in his absence, with the fans also chanting his name.

He added: “We missed him today, the result we could have won, we could have lost, but he’s the man at the top and he’s the one that’s installed everything together.

“It’s nice that they were singing his name and I was proud and I was chuffed to hear that.

“I’ve got a lot of time for him, I hope he makes a speedy recovery and he doesn’t eat any more dodgy prawns.

“I look forward to speaking to him in a bit and seeing him Monday.”