Smith and Cuthbert in contention for Carlisle trip but McCourt misses out

Hatters midfielder Jonathan Smith
Hatters midfielder Jonathan Smith
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Luton Town may have captain Scott Cuthbert and midfielder Jonathan Smith available for tomorrow night’s trip to Carlisle United.

The skipper has missed Hatters’ last three games after going off in the 1-0 defeat to Stevenage, while Smith was absent from Town’s 3-2 triumph over Oxford at the weekend.

Boss Nathan Jones said: “Some people will be closer, Cuthbert is closer, Smudger was ill on the weekend, so will be hopefully be back in contention, so we have a stronger squad to pick from.

“We’ve got a good group now, a trimmed group, got it down to the ones that we really want in the group.

“There’s been one or two injuries that have been unfortunate, which have meant players have exited the group, but we’ve got a nice training group now and they’re hungry, they want to do it,they drive each other on.

“There’s no negativity in there, it’s great to work with them and I’m excited about what they can do.”

One player who is still out though is Northern Irish winger Paddy McCourt, whose last game was also the Stevenage defeat.

Jones continued: “Paddy is still a bit injured, and we’ve given Paddy a little bit of time off. He’s a great lad, but we felt he needed a little bit of time off, so he’ll be the only one who won’t be available for us.

“It was his calf and ironically he did it because he was working so hard in training.

“We know what he can do in possession and we were asking him to do a few things out of possession, asked him to be slightly better and he was really putting in a real shift and unfortunately tweaked something in his calf.

“So we’re not going to rush him, there’s no point and risking something more long term, so it will be a couple of days and should have him back later this week.

“We’ve got two that can play in the same position as Paddy as well, different characters and different players to Paddy, because there’s not many like him, but we’re fine.”

In the absence of Cuthbert, Jones has paired Alan Sheehan with Glen Rea, and has been impressed with the partnership they are forming.

He added: “It’s important to have a number of ones that when things happen, as Cuths is a warrior and we have very commited centre halves here.

“They’re not always going to be the two that play, but it’s important to have real good competition and important to have ones that you can trust.

“I’ve brought two in and going back to what we did in terms of Luke Wilkinson, who was a great player for us here and we really liked the kid, but to bring in Alan Sheehan, I had to do that.

“The people we’ve brought in we feel has improved our squad, improved our team.

“Cuths is a vital part of us but Glen and Sheez have been magnificent together. They’re a proactive type, they both can play, both want to do things the right way, they work hard and graft and are hungry.

“They’re different ages, different stages of their career, but both have that hunger and are a natural pairing, so we’re pleased.”