Town won’t ‘cheapen’ cup

HATTERS will not ‘cheapen’ the integrity of the FA Cup when they face Hendon in a fourth round qualifying tie at Kenilworth Road on Saturday, writes Mark Wood.

Despite a raft of injuries Gary Brabin is determined to name a strong side for the visit of the Isthmian League Premier Division high-flyers. Currently fourth in the table, they have only lost twice in the league this season, including a 3-1 home defeat to the Metropolitan Police on Tuesday night.

Brabin said: “We’ve had them watched and know about them. They are near the top of their league. We are taking it seriously as we do every game. It’s not a question of putting players out to get a game. The team picked will be more than strong enough to get a victory and players who deserve to be playing in the first team.

“I’ve certainly got a few little thoughts (on changes). I’m not just going to rest everyone and play anyone who has not been playing.

“I don’t want to cheapen the competition. It’s a really important competition and important we progress and I will pick a team strong enough for us to progress.”

But he welcomed the break saying: “It gives some of our long-term injuries 10 days or so to get over their knocks and bruises.”

His selection though is likely to be shaped by the injury-crisis still engulfing Kenilworth Road.

It’s unclear whether any deal will materialise to extend Janos Kovacs’ stay at the club following the end of his loan deal from Hereford this week. Charlie Henry is unlikely to be thrown in at the deep end, while versatile youngster Newman Carney this week broke his leg and will be ruled out for three months.

The likes of Dan Gleeson, Ed Asafu-Adjaye, Freddie Murray and Alex Lawless are all definitely out, while there are also doubts over the likes of Adam Watkins, plus top scorer Amari Morgan-Smith and influential midfielder Keith Keane who both missed Friday night’s 1-0 win at Grimsby.

On whether they might be fit, and the injury situation, Brabin added: “It’s still far too early to say. They are still injured. Alex Lawless has stepped up his training a little but we are still cautious on full contact. Dan Gleeson started light training and light jogging which is a plus. Freddie Murray and Shane Blackett are still not training yet and we are no nearer with Freddie.”