UPDATED: Smith unavailable as Shaw’s set to be missing again
Loan man Jonathan Smith will not be allowed to play for Luton in tomorrow (Tuesday) night’s FA Cup first round replay at Nuneaton Town by parent club York City, writes Mark Wood.
Town have several knocks ahead of their clash Liberty Way with target man Jon Shaw unlikely to have recovered from a thigh injury, although boss Paul Buckle does hope to have him available for Sunday’s Blue Square Bet Premier trip to Mansfield Town.
He’ll also make a late call on who will start in goal with keeper Mark Tyler now fully fit and Dean Brill having deputised in recent games.
Buckle said: “I don’t think Jon will be available no, but I’m hopeful he’ll be back for Sunday’s game.
“(Arnaud) Mendy can play and Smith can’t play. So Smith, there’ll be a change there, and he was arguably our best player Saturday.”
Cup-tied Simon Ainge will also be missing and Buckle admitted that both Janos Kovacs and Lathaniel Rowe-Turner were unlucky to miss Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat to Dartford and come back into contention.
He said: “I think Janos and him were a shade unlucky to be left out. I said that to the pair of them before the game.”
Buckle exonerated Brill from the blame for Saturday’s goals but admitted he had a decision to make between the sticks.
“It’s not so much the defeat. I don’t think you can blame the goalkeepers,” he said.
“It’s a matter about the team switching on on Saturday, we needed to switch on a bit more.
“OK we dropped into the box on the second one too easily but the goals were soft and certainly weren’t down to the goalies.
“Mark has had a few training sessions now and I’ll make that decision tomorrow.”
Other little knocks may also force changes, as Buckle continued: “We are forced into some changes because of the FA Cup and players not able to play, so there is a bit of change for us.
“I suppose really and truthfully it will be whoever performs on the night and who gets a little bit of luck as well.
“We’ve got a couple of knocks. Again I’m sort of reluctant to give the game away in terms of who is injured and who’s not.
“We have got a couple of knocks which is unfortunate but again we’ll field a strong team tomorrow night.
“It’s been an interesting couple of days for us. We reported in 9.30am Sunday morning after our defeat at home, we took it on the chin, it wasn’t nice.
“A lot of work’s gone in on the training field and having meetings in terms of trying to get another big run going together.
“Because we were on a tremendous run, not only of results, but a tremendous run of form as well.
“That against one poor performance makes me still quite confident we can get back to winning ways.”
Buckle has a few options to choose from ahead of the Boro game, but revealed there probably wouldn’t be anyone left over from his matchday squad.
He added: “We’ve got a bit of scope, but we’ve not got an awful lot of scope to be honest.
“I think with a couple of injuries and with the seven subs there will probably be nobody left over.
“There’s not an awful lots of scope but at the same time I haven’t needed to look to bring anybody in because we’ve been going so well.
“It was a surprise on Saturday how we went about things because that was really unlike us. I don’t want to be kneejerk and start making wholesale changes, I don’t think it warrants that, I don’t think the players deserve that.”