UPDATED: Still hints that Lawless could be Hatters’ only change for Aldershot trip
Luton have virtually a clean bill of health for tomorrow night’s clash to Aldershot Town, writes Mark Wood.
Boss John Still confirmed there were no new injury worries at today’s press conference, but did hint that he may be tempted to rest Alex Lawless to aid his recovery after a long lay-off.
Still said: “No new knocks, everyone’s fine.”
And on Lawless, he continued: “It isn’t so much rest. I am slightly aware that we played Alex on Saturday and we weren’t 100 per cent about playing Alex because it’s important he plays fit.
“Two games in a couple of days might be more than we want to do with him so we might look at something there, but I wouldn’t think too much else.”
Still believes relegated Shots strengthened well in the summer, including the loan signing of former Luton loan man, centre-half Jake Goodman, from Millwall.
He said: “They’ve got Jake there. Andy Scott and Terry Bullivant are there and I know them really well and they’re good people, they know the job and they know what they’re doing.
“So I always thought that Aldershot would be a decent team. There’s lots of players around and I think they’ve gone out and they’ve got decent players.
“A couple of good loans. Like everyone in this league, everyone’s competitive now.
“Any league, anywhere you go, I think the reason for that is you could start with a blank piece of paper now and go and get a decent team because there’s so many players around now that still haven’t got clubs and some playing at clubs that clubs don’t want, can’t afford, or it’s time to move. And it’s a difficult time for players. So whoever you play, I think, will have decent players, and the teams will be decent and hard to beat.”
Still believes the Hatters are now well organised, but is expecting an habitually tough test at the Recreation Ground.
“One of the things that we’ve tried really hard to do is to try and be organised defensively, which we are,” he said.
“You can’t account for individual mistakes, but collectively as a group defensively we’re very good and if you can do that and have people that can score goals you’re going to have a chance.
“They’re going to be tough, they’re going to be organised. Aldershot away is always tough anyhow, so I don’t expect anything other than as tough a game as we’ve always had, I really don’t. And that’s good, I think that’s the way it should be.”
Town skipper Ronnie Henry was substituted late in Saturday’s 4-3 victory over FC Halifax Town, but Still explained that it was purely tactical.
He said: “It was tactical because they’d gone into three centre-halves and I think it allowed us to attack down that side with two wingers.
“We tried to be a rigid 4-3-3, and leave three up so there would be a lot of space up behind.
“If you looked at Ronnie, he’s more a defender than an attacker, so we thought we could get forward down that right-hand side with two attacking players.
“We could have actually done it on the left-hand side, but Scott (Griffiths) having played for me before, he knows that job and he was quite sound and got up there quite well anyway.
“That’s not to say Ronnie can’t, but it was an opportunity to go with two attacking players down that side and that’s because I’m a good manager.”
The Shots sit second bottom on eight points, 15 behind the Hatters, but for once the standings are skewed by a 10-point penalty against the Hampshire club.
Still said: “In unusual circumstances the table does lie. But it doesn’t lie in terms of how many points you’ve gained, what people take away is different.
“In my experience, the team that comes first over 46 games is going to be the best team in the league, there’s no doubt about it.
“Not the best team in August, not the best team in March, but the best team over the season and that’s how it is.
“And wherever Aldershot finish add 10 points on, and that would be the true reflection of their season.
“The best team doesn’t win the cup, the best team wins the cup.”
The game against Aldershot is the latest in a long list of fixtures between former Football League clubs,
“How many Football League fixtures now are there in this league?” asked Still.
“It was a Football League fixture Saturday, we had a Football League fixture the Saturday before at Hereford, we had a Football League one with Lincoln.
“Listen, the one thing I knew when I came here, I knew how tough it was going to be. And you know what, that’s why I came.”
And having managed both in non-league and in the Football League for a number of years he could foresee there would be a glut of former League clubs left to languish in the Conference.
Still added: “Because I’d managed both sides of the fence, I knew how good clubs are.
“I knew they’d be having a go to get back and I knew unfortunately somewhere every year someone was going to drop out of the League.
“I was always aware of that side of it, but because I’m a football nut and I look very close at things I saw how many good players would end up without League clubs, because of the influx of foreign players that happens.
“And I realised how many good players there would be dropping out of the League and I also knew how many good players out there there were through what we’d done, not playing in the League that were just waiting for that opportunity.”