Recalled Mullins is determined to keep his place in Luton’s defence

Johnny Mullins picks a pass against Notts County on Saturday
Johnny Mullins picks a pass against Notts County on Saturday
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Hatters defender Johnny Mullins is determined to stay in the side after his recall against Notts County at the weekend.

The 30-year-old suffered a hamstring injury recently which kept him out for a fortnight before returning to the bench against Leyton Orient.

It’s frustrating to get injured, but that’s part and parcel of football, you have to take your medicine, and take your time out.

Johnny Mullins

He came on for the closing stages at the Matchroom Stadium, although was an unused sub during the 1-1 draw with Mansfield Town the previous Saturday.

Mullins was then restored to partner Scott Cuthbert in the centre of Town’s defence at Meadow Lane, with Alan Sheehan moving to left back, as the defender always knew he would to wait patiently for his chance to come again.

He said: “The lads have been excellent, the defensive shape has been really good recently and we’ve been not winning games by the smallest of margins.

“It’s frustrating to get injured, but that’s part and parcel of football, you have to take your medicine, and take your time out.

“I’ve got back in now and it’s all about, I want to stay in, but the squad and the competition is so high that if you do get injured, it might take you a couple of weeks to get back in.

“Sheez is an wonderful football player with an absolute wand of a left foot, so he can do that and I think Pottsy’s (Dan Potts) been excellent.

“The competition is really strong all over the pitch and long may that continue and come May 7 we’ll all be celebrating because of that.”

On his own display at the weekend, with Mullins making one superb intervention at full stretch to deny Aaron Collins a tap-in, the defender said: “I tired a bit towards the end, the longer I stay in the team hopefully I can keep going, but I enjoyed it.

“It’s nice to be back out there, you don’t realise how much you miss it until you’re injured and you’re not playing.

“Then you come back in and the team are doing so well, so it’s nice to be back out there and I’ll let others judge that.”

When asked for assessment of Mullins’ display, Town boss Nathan Jones, who signed the defender on a free transfer from Oxford in the summer, said: “I thought he was excellent.

“We haven’t kept a clean sheet for a while and I think all of the clean sheets we’ve kept is when he’s been playing, so it’s important to have him back and we’re happy to have him back in.

“He’s a great pro, he was unlucky to have come out of the side through injury, so we’re delighted, but that’s the squad we have.

“We knew that they’d have a direct threat, so we wanted to make sure that we were strong.

“Johnny’s a leader for us, we had three leaders in the back four, if you like, Sods (Stephen O’Donnell), is the younger one.

“But it was more to do with the fact we felt that they allowed space in between lines and Alan (Sheehan) is one of the best passers we have to get it into our front people and cause problems.

“We didn’t do that enough, but that was the thinking. Dan Potts has done very well for us, but a week out won’t do him any harm.

“We’ve got a strong bench and we’ve got one or two to come back in as well, so it’s good.”

Mullins also knows that despite a good performance during Saturday’s stalemate leading to Luton’s first league clean sheet since August, he can’t expect to be starting when Hatters head to Exeter City in the FA Cup on Saturday.

He continued: “You really can’t take anything for granted, the performances of the players is speaking for itself and the gaffer knows it.

“He’s got x amount of players that can play in each position, so you make sure when you’ve got the shirt you keep it.

“The training’s so intense that you know everyone’s at it every day and that’s only good for the football club.”