Saturday comes too soon for Lawless as his hand fails to heal in time

SATURDAY’S game against Gateshead has come too soon for influential midfielder Alex Lawless, writes Mark Wood.

Friday, 14th October 2011, 3:04 pm

Manager Gary Brabin had hoped to to welcome back Lawless along with Keith Keane and Jake Howells into his midfield, but Lawless’ hand injury hasn’t healed sufficiently.

The 28-year-old midfielder has been missing since breaking his hand at half time in the 3-0 defeat at York last month when punching a dressing room wall.

Brabin said: “Every couple of weeks we have an assessment on his hand.

“He has had the cast taken off and been told it hasn’t fully healed and it’s another couple of weeks.

“We were hopeful. He had his cast removed Tuesday. It was always a decision on his behalf whether he felt comfortable to play. He said he was.

“But it hasn’t healed properly and a needs a couple more weeks.

“It’s dangerous, he may break it again and is definitely not in our thoughts.”

However, he will be able to call upon the services of Keane, who served a one-match ban during the 2-2 draw at Ebbssfleet on Tuesday night after picking up five bookings this season, and on Howells who is now available again after being on international duty with Wales U21s.

Brabin continued: “It’s a big plus for us bringing in two big players for us and delighted to have them two back.

“We were hopeful that we could get the whole of our midfield that was missing back for Saturday but to have two of them back is a big bonus.”

He also revealed that top scorer Amari Morgan-Smith, with nine, hasn’t trained since Tuesday night’s game, but is hopeful both he and Aaron O’Connor will be fit enough to take part, despite them both nursing knocks.

The Town boss said: “We will have to see how they both are.

“Amari hasn’t trained since and neither has Aaron. We will have to look how they both are.”

Brabin may well also stick with the likes of Shane Blackett and George Pilkington at the back who seemed to struggle late on against Ebbsfleet on Tuesday as they continued to make their returns from long injury lay-offs.

The Luton manager said: “We’ve had to change their routine a little bit this week.

“It’s been quite tough, two tough away games and physically demanding.

“The two 90 minutes and we’ve looked at toning down their training this week.

“There’s no pressure on them, they’ve got to feel right and they are delighted to be back.

“It was a gamble throwing them in against Kidderminster too.

“I think they’ve both done fantastically and both games they’ve done brilliant.

“There’s going to be a bit of tired legs but I thought they were outstanding.”

And on whether he should have perhaps changed things up on Tuesday with the likes of Will Antwi, Dean Beckwith, Alex Lacey and JJ O’Donnell waiting in the wings, Brabin added: “You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

“We’ve got to get Blackett and Pilks back up to speed and the only way you can do that is by playing games. I thought they were both outstanding.

“It will take its toll but they will get stronger and stronger.”