UPDATED: Hatters have clean bill of health for crucial Stags clash

Luton have no new injury worries ahead of Saturday’s crucial home clash against play-off rivals Mansfield Town, writes Mark Wood.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 21st February 2013, 6:18 pm

Jonathan Smith is fit after coming off for the last 20 minutes against Macclesfield in Tuesday night’s 1-1 at the Moss Rose, while experienced centre-half Wayne Thomas is finally eligible for his debut after waiting the full 15 days for his international clearance.

Alan Neilson, who is in temporary charge following Paul Buckle’s departure on Tuesday, said: “Smudger will be fit. The only person is Adam Watkins who got a little injury, although I know he’s on loan to Eastleigh. Apart from that everybody is fit and everybody’s trained this morning.”

And this time Luton will finally be able to call on defender Thomas, 33, who’s paperwork following his move from Greece is finally complete.

“His international clearance has cleared now after 15 full days,” Neilson continued. “Wayne Thomas he’s played centre-half. So if selected he will play centre-half. He’s trained here for 15 days. You wouldn’t say he was match fit because he hasn’t played a full 90 minutes for a long time. He played 60 minutes in a development game and played in a practice match here behind-closed doors for 45 minutes. So if selected he’ll be ready to go in. Would he last the full game if he started the game, then you don’t know.”

Town’s preparation were yesterday boosted by an in-house training game yesterday, as Neilson said:

“We had a little bit of a practice match yesterday for the lads who didn’t play on Tuesday night. So everybody is up to speed. It was in-house one. The youth team and I think we had 11 first team players.”

Neilson admitted he had been disappointed by long spells of Luton’s play during Tuesday night’s 1-1 draw at Macclesfield. The Silkmen played 70 minutes with 10 men and without a recognised goalkeeper following the sending of their number one, but somehow managed to come back from a goal down to salvage a draw.

And changes to the team are now likely, as Neilson continued: “We’ve sat down as a staff and gone through all the formations as teams and which ways we can go. If we decide on changes we will do. The second half wasn’t good enough so there could be changes on the horizon.”

Winger Scott Neilson will surely be in with a shout after missing out on a starting place, having been one of the few players to impress at Dartford the week before.

“Scott Neilson did train last Friday and we decided to go with the formation we did and put him on the bench,” Neilson added. We had a chat with Scott and gave him the reasons why and Scott’s fit to play on Saturday.”