Strike duo are in the reckoning for Hatters versus Hatters

DEADLINE day signings Stuart Fleetwood and Collin Samuel are both in contention to be involved for the Hatters at Stockport County tomorrow night, writes Mark Wood.

The pair signed at the 11th-hour last night, just before the transfer window closed, and manager Gary Brabin wants to assess their fitness and see how they fit in in training today before making any decisions.

Speaking at this morning’s press conference, he said: “They are going to join in with the group training and see how the lads are.

“It was all done very late. Collin flew over from Scotland and never arrived at the club until late last night.

“Stuart was all done by the phone and fax.

“I’m hoping they will be involved with the squad - they will be part of it.”

However, the injury situation has worsened with the news that Jake Howells looks likely to miss the encounter that is being shown live on satellite channel Premier Sports with a knee injury.

Brabin continued: “It’s bad enough that he had to pull out of the Wales squad.

“I haven’t even seen the physio for his full report.

“He hasn’t trained yesterday, I’m not hopeful he will be able to train today or be involved tomorrow.”

That means the versatile Howells joins defenders George Pilkginton, Shane Blackett, Dan Gleeson and Freddie Murray, plus winger Charlie Henry on the sidelines.

Brabin must be tempted to recall left-back JJ O’Donnell from his loan deal at Cambridge City, but he does have Ed Asafu-Adjaye to call on as cover at left-back.

On the injury situation, Brabin said: “Out of them all at the moment, Glees is the more likely to be involved back with the group.

“We just don’t want to push him too much.

“Added to that lot is Jake Howells who had to come off on Tuesday night.

“It is difficult but we have some good players at the back and they need to gel quickly.

“As a team you defend and as a team you attack and that responsibility is shared throughout.

“I talk about ruthlessness in both boxes and that’s the responsibility of the forwards and defenders.”

The trip to Stockport marks a step up in the quality of opponents Town have faced this season.

Following their relegation out of the Football League and the appointment of high-profile manager Dietmar Hamann the other Hatters have been able to attract some good players to their club over the summer.

Brabin said: “He has got some good players there. I know a few of the lads, it’s my neck of the woods. I know what is going on behind the scenes.

“They’ve targeted some good players and been able to sign them and have a high profile manager that has helped them attract them.”

As a result there have been plenty of changes on the pitch for County, with Brabin saying: “It takes times. We talk about our own situation with our back four, they’ve had to throughout their whole team.

“It may take time to gel so they have had a decent start and will look to be up there at the end of the season.”

And Evertonian Brabin admitted that coming up against former Liverpool midfielder and German international Hamann adds a little extra spice.

He joked: “I think when we walk out if I get the chance I will give him a little kick!”