Result more important than goals for Gray as steady partnership pays off

Free-scoring Town striker Andre Gray asserted the three points against Nuneaton were far more important than his own hat-trick on Saturday, writes Mark Wood.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 28th January 2014, 2:32 pm
L14-086   27.1.14   MBLN
LTFC v Nuneaton.
wk 5 MW JX
L14-086 27.1.14 MBLN LTFC v Nuneaton. wk 5 MW JX

Gray’s treble took him to 17 for the season as he netted his second hat-trick in a Luton shirt.

He said: “I’m glad I got the hat-trick today, but more than anything it was to get the three points and extend our lead at the top.

“It’s my second (hat-trick). My first one was Hyde I think. It’s brilliant, that what I’ve come here to do, it’s my job and as long as I don’t get carried away and do a job for the team it doesn’t matter who scores.

“It could have been Benno (Paul Benson) today and as long as we come away with three points it doesn’t make a difference as long as we keep winning.”

Gray admitted that Luton looked rusty after their three-week league sojourn, but believes getting Luke Guttridge into the action more was key to the victory.

He continued: “I think everyone’s been a bit frustrated that the game was called off last week, we’ve been going a few weeks without games.

“I think it was expected, I think the fans stayed with us, I think they knew we might be a bit rusty and they didn’t cause us no harm and the game was always in our hands, so it was just a case of getting the first goal, letting us settle down a little bit more and just being a bit better in the final third and we did that in the second half.

“The first half was always going to be one way or the other. We either come out of the blocks flying like we did against Alfreton, or we don’t.

“I think they had a game last week and you could probably tell they were that little bit sharper and that little bit of quality was lacking in the final third.

“I’ve had a few chances to cross it and it got a bit frustrating. But the fans stuck with us and we knew what we could do and we just needed a goal to break the deadlock and that was it really.

“I think we just needed the ball to go into the back of the net and open the game up. Get Gutts on the ball a bit more in the hole and we were always going to dominate after that I think.”

Gray revealed that he thought centre-half Ryan Inniss’ header had already crossed the line before steering home Scott Griffiths’ cross for his second.

He said: “I thought the ball went over the line just before that anyway. But it was just a case of getting across to the front post like a lot of strikers get told to do and I’ve managed to do that and put it in the net.”

And strike partner Benson allowed him to run on to the ball and net his third, as Gray continued: “I think I came on to it a bit easier than he did. He made my mind up for me and left it for me.”

Having a stable strike partner in the form of Benson has also proved key for Gray with the pair having netted 28 goals between them.

He said: “I’ve never really had a strike partner to that extent recently. Like last season I did with Shawy (Jon Shaw) and Rens (Scott Rendell), but it was a bit chop and change.

“I think we’re settled now, we’ve got a settled team and we’ve still got Cully (Mark Cullen) who’s coming on and Cully’s a fantastic player as well.

“We’ve got a very strong squad and we need to get out of this league and we’ve got a gaffer that know what he’s doing and everyone wants to be part of the team that does that.

“Everyone’s got to work hard and keep their heads down and it’s good to have that competition.”

And Gray was full of praise for Town’s supporters, adding: “They’re fantastic and they stick behind us. They could have easily been frustrated. Probably last year we would have got booed off at half time, but they understand what we’re in and understand that they can be our 12th man at times and that showed today.”