Justin determined to end Hatters’ play-off misery

Hatters defender James Justin
Hatters defender James Justin

Hatters youngster James Justin is desperate for the Hatters to finally savour that winning feeling when they head into the League Two play-offs.

Town’s last two campaigns during the Conference years, both ended in failure as they reached the final, only to lose 2-1 at Wembley against York City, with a penalty shoot-out defeat to AFC Wimbledon in Manchester as well.

To hopefully be at Wembley and stepping out there in front of all of our fans that we know we’re going to bring, if we get there, it would just be wonderful.

James Justin

They were beaten in the semi-final stage by York in the 2009-10 campaign and a decade earlier, went down 4-3 over two legs to Crewe Alexandra in the League One play-offs during the 1996-97 season.

Although it’s only recent memories that are relevant to 19-year-old Justin, they are still vivid in his mind, as he said: “Over the years, especially in the Conference, the times we travelled up to the Etihad, travelled up to Wembley, it never goes in our favour.

“But hopefully this year we can turn it in the right way.”

Although Town are still 180 minutes away from actually reaching Wembley, with their semi-final opponents yet to be confirmed too, Justin admitted the thought of appearing in the play-off final would cap a superb season for him personally.

The teenager had made just one first team appearance last term as a substitute on the final day of the campaign against Exeter.

However, after being handed his full debut in the 3-1 EFL Cup win over Aston Villa and impressing greatly, Justin has gone on to play 36 times this term, with a first goal at Accrington on Saturday.

It earned him the Young Luton Town Player of the Season award, chosen by boss Nathan Jones and his coaching staff recently too, as looking back at his breakthrough campaign, he continued: “It’s been a wonderful couple of weeks for me and hopefully in my first year I can go to Wembley and get promoted which will also be wonderful.

“You wouldn’t have dreamt it before the season to play as many matches and to hopefully be at Wembley and stepping out there in front of all of our fans that we know we’re going to bring, if we get there, it would just be wonderful.”

Town go into Saturday’s home clash with Morecambe looking to finally make it three league wins for the first time this season.

They have put back-to- back victories together on four other occasions so far, but have then gone on to draw twice and lose twice.

Justin hopes to finally end that trend this weekend, adding: “Hopefully we can do three wins on the trot. If we do that then we’re in great form going into the play-offs and who knows what can happen.

“The gaffer was saying its all about momentum going into the play-offs.

“It’s not whoever finishes fourth is going to win the play-offs, it’s basically a lottery whoever goes in there, and its when you step to Wembley, it’s a lottery too.”