Mackail-Smith open to a loan move if he can’t force his way in at Luton

On the spot: Craig Mackail-Smith converts his penalty against Chesterfield on Tuesday night
On the spot: Craig Mackail-Smith converts his penalty against Chesterfield on Tuesday night
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Striker Craig Mackail-Smith has conceded he would be open to a loan move away from Luton if he can’t break into the first team at Kenilworth Road.

The 32-year-old striker made only his second start of the season and first since November 8 during the 4-0 Checkatrade Trophy win over Chesterfield on Tuesday night.

I want to get in the team. If I’m not getting in the team and they’re doing well then I’ll have to look somewhere else.

Craig Mackail-Smith

After boss Nathan Jones had stated in the week that the onus is on Mackail-Smith to prove he has a future with the club, the ex-Brighton forward went some way to doing that, with an excellent 77-minute display, notching his first goal of the campaign too from the penalty spot.

On his prospects, Mackail-Smith said: “I need to play football, first and foremost, whether it’s at Luton or on loan, we’ll see.

“I want to get in the team. If I’m not getting in the team and they’re doing well then I’ll have to look somewhere else.

“But as soon as I put the shirt on for Luton I go out and give everything I’ve got and the future will be the future really.

“I’m enjoying it, but I’m a footballer and it’s frustrating because I want to play football.

“I need to play football as I’m a bit older now and it depends where the opportunities are.

“If they’re here then fantastic, I’ll work really hard and if not then I’ll have to look somewhere else.”

Mackail-Smith’s goal was his third successful spot kick for Luton since signing in the summer of 2015, and first strike since he bagged the winner over Hartlepool on February 28, 2016.

The striker has spent a large chunk of his time with the Hatters out injured, after breaking his leg against Plymouth on March 19, 2016, only returning to fitness in November

After being back on the scoresheet once more, Mackail-Smith said: “It’s nice. It’s just nice to get out on the pitch and play. It has a been a little bit frustrating, but it was good, nice to get a goal and an assist and hopefully I can build on that now.

“It has been difficult. I was finding my feet towards the end of the previous season and to get the injury and be out for so long wasn’t really the plan.

“It has been difficult and I’ve not really showed my best and what I’m capable of, so if I get the chance and I work hard and it comes my way then I’ll do all I can to put that right and enjoy my football.

“I’ve come back and trained and then not got in the side. Then I picked up a little knock and it has been a bit of both really. Hopefully I can keep fit now and push my way into the league team.

“The boys, Vass (Isaac Vassell) and Hylts (Danny Hylton) and Jack (Marriott) are doing well, and I’ve just got to keep doing my thing, trying to get on the pitch, scoring goals and pushing my way forward.”

Mackail-Smith formed a dangerous double act with Jack Marriott that terrorised the Spireites all evening, with his strike partner netting twice, after being set up by the ex-Scotland international.

He said: “We did well last season together. We played really well and most of the time I was doing the running and he was doing the scoring.

“We know each other’s game quite well and I think it showed with some nice moves and getting some goals together.

“The partnerships are there and the gaffer has got the opportunity to use them and do what he wants with them.”

Meanwhile, on Mackail-Smith’s return to the side, boss Jones added: “I’m delighted for him as its been a long road for him to come back and then he’s had little niggles as he’s come back, but he’s a great lad.

“We didn’t have a target man but what we did have was pace and off the shoulder and a real, real, real threat.

“So we wanted to use that, it was a great ball from Jack, and Craig was in, he would have had an opportunity but got the penalty and then Jack took his goals really well too.”