Lawless is loving streaking clear rather than playing catch-up

Streaking ahead at the top rather than playing catch-up has come as a welcome change for Hatters midfielder Alex Lawless, writes Mark Wood.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 19th February 2014, 4:00 pm
L14-187 LTFC v Hereford at Kenilworth road, Luton 7:0 win
Mike Simmonds
JR 8
Goal 7 celebration
L14-187 LTFC v Hereford at Kenilworth road, Luton 7:0 win Mike Simmonds JR 8 15.2.14 Goal 7 celebration

Saturday’s 7-0 thrashing of Hereford United moved Town nine points clear of Cambridge United at the summit of the Skrill Premier in stark contrast to past campaigns where Luton have always been chasing the leaders at this point in the season.

Lawless, 28, who is in his fourth season at Kenilworth Road, said: “I think when I first came three or four years ago now we were in a position where we were chasing and we had games in hand and you see a team that’s striding away and playing well and winning strongly and it’s nice to be that side of it and be the team that’s doing it this time.

“It’s good to put that pressure on everyone else, but it’s not about them, because today they weren’t playing and we’ve gone ahead because of what we’ve done and that’s all that’s going to win this league, it’s all about what we do.”

Returning striker Jon Shaw admitted that he thinks Luton being top of the table makes them an even bigger scalp for other teams.

He said: “I think when you come here and you look at the pitch at the minute and at the lower end of the league they are fighting and scrapping for points, they want to come here and want to do well.

“That’s always the case, but especially when you’re top. They think, well let’s go there and upset them, and the lads just won’t let it happen.”

But Town showed a real ruthlessness as they disposed of the Bulls at the weekend to pile more pressure on the U’s as Shaw questioned whether they had the ability to catch the Hatters.

He said: “There’s a real steel and determination. We’re strong, we’re organised and it shows. Nobody takes their foot off the gas.

“And today with the cup games, it really is now, the coin’s been flipped a little bit on Cambridge. They were so far ahead and now they’re playing catch-up.

“But the way we’re playing, can they catch us?”

Recent signing Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu shone in the second half, scoring one and winning a penalty on his full home debut following his move from West Ham United.

Town simply ‘bulldozed’ the Bulls on the day to put pressure on Cambridge, as he said: “It was my first full debut since I signed so it was good to get a goal and hopefully I can get some more and push us further away from Cambridge and hopefully into League Two next season.

“They keep bulldozing teams over. We’re nine points ahead so other teams are playing catch-up. We keep putting points on the board and hopefully the other teams slip up and hopefully in the next months we’ll go into League Two.

“They keep seeing that Luton are winning and it puts pressure on them to win so we can only keep doing our job and take care of our points and our team, so hopefully we keep going.”

Both replacements will be looking to fight their way back into the team as Town head to fourth-placed Nuneaton Town on Saturday, but the form of the players already in the side will make it very difficult for them to force their way in, with Luton currently on the crest of a record 22-game unbeaten league run.

Lawless, whose season has been blighted by injury, added: “Despite that it’s enjoyable to come and play with the team when they are playing good and we have got a good team ethic, everyone plays their part and we’ve definitely got that in abundance this year, and when you do play, even if I haven’t played as much as I’m used to have playing this season, I still feel hugely part of it and I feel I’ve chipped in with a few goals when I have played and assists and that and that’s been nice because obviously I haven’t played as much as I would have like to have in terms of injuries, starting from the beginning of the season, so I’m hoping just to have a strong finish now and hopefully help the team win the league.

“The lads have been doing great and it comes the weekend and you’re not in the team you can sort of understand when you’ve been out and people have been performing.

“But I’m sure I can get myself back in and fingers crossed there won’t be no more injuries and then I’ll be fit and strong to help the team.”