Leaving Guttridge out of his settled side was a big call for Hatters boss

Influential midfielder Luke Guttridge missed out against Braintree on Tuesday night as Town boss John Still believed it would be a real battle, writes Mark Wood.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 15th November 2013, 12:00 pm
Welling v Luton Town. Photos by Liam Smith. wk 46.
Welling v Luton Town. Photos by Liam Smith. wk 46.

The summer signing from Northampton Town oozes quality on the ball and has netted six times this season, but Still didn’t believe that he would be able to bring these qualities to the fore against the Iron.

Still admitted: “Conditions, it was tough to leave Gutts out on Tuesday, but we felt this was the best way to go and it’s happened to Cully (Mark), it’s happened to Andre (Gray). When you’ve got attacking players sometimes conditions are best suited to different types, a bit like Tuesday.

“Maybe not the ideal game for Gutts because the ball wasn’t going to come down a lot, wasn’t going to settle a lot, it was more of a competing game. And that’s not to say he can’t compete, but the qualities that he brings are different types of qualities and I wasn’t sure we would get enough time to do that if I’m being honest. Sometimes you have to make these decisions and sometimes they’re big decisions, but when you do this job you mustn’t be afraid to make big decisions, because decisions have to be made.”

Leaving out the six-goal midfielder was a big decision for the Hatters boss, but captain Ronnie Henry is adamant the Town chief knows exactly what he is doing.

He said: “The team is kind of settled, I think the gaffer knows what he’s doing. There’s probably a lot of people that were surprised that Luke was left out the other night, but the gaffer knows what he’s doing, he’s been there and done it before.

“He’s said the back five is settled at the moment and we know we need to keep keeping clean sheets and performing well to stay in the side because there are people knocking on the door like Anthony Charles is waiting for his chance, and people need to keep on their game.”

Guttridge is Town’s joint leading scorer along with strikers Andre Gray and Paul Benson, who netted his sixth goal of the season in the 2-1 defeat of Braintree on Tuesday night.

Still said: “When we brought Paul in we know Paul’s going to score because he has always scored goals. Fortunately we are sharing the goals around, Andre, Cully, Gutts, we have lots of people that can score goals and that’s a big plus for us.”

The Luton manager is pleased with how his side are performing and also feels they are benefitting from a settled squad.

He added: “I think we are pretty settled in what we have been doing and I think we’re learning all of the time. Our form really has been exemplary, I think our form has been fantastic, it really has.

“And we’ve won games in all sorts of ways. We’re going along form-wise where I’d like us to be in a decent position league-wise, a decent position points-wise and with Christmas not too far away I’m really comfortable what we’re doing and where we are.”