Injury-hit Hatters wait on Keane fitness

INJURY-RAVAGED Hatters are again struggling at the back for their trip to Bath City tomorrow night, writes Mark Wood.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 19th September 2011, 6:47 pm

Town’s wafer-thin resources at the back are being stretched to breaking point for the trip to The Romans following Dean Beckwith’s sending off on Saturday for a stupid off-the-ball elbow.

And manager Gary Brabin admitted Luton are having to mix and match to field a patchwork defence.

He said: “Every day we are working round the clock on things. We aren’t going to have Dean Beckwith and that’s one area for concern. We seem to get effected most in defence.

“It will be a big blow, he has played well of late. It wasn’t as violent as we first thought but he has been deemed to raise his arm.

“He has fallen for one of the oldest tricks in the book but it is what it is and we will have to cope for three games without him.

“The defence has been shuffled around and I’m sure it will get shuffled around again tomorrow. It’s something we will have to address.”

Beckwith will be suspended for three matches following his dismissal in the 1-0 victory over struggling Lincoln City on Saturday.

However, the Hatters will be able to welcome back Ed Asafu-Adjaye following his one-match ban for his sending off in the 2-0 victory, for two yellow cards, at AFC Telford last week.

The versatile Keith Keane, who missed out with a hip injury at the weekend, remains a big doubt though.

Brabin continued: “I know he would want to play but we need to be sensible about it and see if he is fit and we are concentrating on that today.”

The game also looks to have come too soon for right-back Dan Gleeson (back), but Brabin is confident he’s making progress.

At this morning’s press conference, he said: “Dan’s getting a bit of treatment today to hopefully solve his problem. Glees is still a bit too early.”

However, he is still without the like of long-term casualties captain George Pilkington and fellow defenders Shane Blackett and Freddie Murray, but there is ‘light at the end of the tunnel’.

He said: “It’s just nice coming into the club now seeing George Pilkington in his training kit preparing to go out with the other lads and there light at the end of the tunnel.”

Brabin admitted he could recall the likes of defenders JJ O’Donnell and Alex Lacey from their loan spells at Cambridge City, but seemed to hint that bringing in their own temporary players would be a more likely option.

On recalling them, he said: “I could do if I wanted to. In terms of getting worse I’ve only got one available out-and-out defender at the club at the moment (Will Antwi).

“The lads are getting good experience there. If it was deemed necessary to bring them back I would. They will certainly have gained a lot of experience of being out on loan and at the moment we have other plans.”

And on bringing someone in, he continued: “It’s a possibility for us and it’s something we would look at.”

And he had words of praise for the players that have come in to deputise at the back.

Brabin said: “Jake Howells, who has probably been playing more effectively in midfield for is, has slotted in well at left-back.”

Winger James Dance performed solidly at right-back and midfielder Jamie Hand dropped in superbly at centre-half on Saturday, with Brabin adding: “He did really well for us but I thought every man to a man played really well second half.

“I think there’s a good atmosphere at the club at the moment and I think that’s important.

“It just takes one person to lower his standard and it effects the rest of the group.”