Hatters boss Paul Buckle has yet to decide whether he will ring the changes for Saturday’s FA Trophy second round tie with Evo-Stik Northern League Premier Division side Matlock Town, writes Mike Simmonds.
Buckle fielded a much-changed side for the 3-1 win over Dorchester Town in the previous round, but has been given food for thought by Luton’s 5-2 hammering at the hands of Newport County on Tuesday night.
Speaking to the press this afternoon, he said: “I’ll give myself today and tomorrow to think on that one. I’m tempted to play a really strong team, although if I make changes it’s still a strong team.
“I’ll have a think about it and see whether I make as many changes as last time out or whether I’ll go similar to what I’ve fielded in the league games.”
One player who is available again is Janos Kovacs, someone that Town missed badly due to suspension in midweek as Buckle continued: “Janos has been in good form, he’s certainly someone that when he’s on his game, can go and attack the ball and clear our lines.
“You’ve really got to win them, its not about heading balls down, you’ve got to clear the midfield. Kovacs has done that of late and we’ve benefited from that.”
Hosts Matlock have struggled in the league, sitting in 17th place, but Buckle knows they will raise their game once the Hatters are in town.
He said: “I think every time a team plays Luton it’s a chance for a scalp. We know we’re a big club at this level, but we’ve been in good shape other than the other night.
“We need to get back to the basics and really turn up there and show what we;re all about.”
There is no chance that Buckle will be taking the game lightly too as he said: “We’re in the Trophy, I’m pleased to be in the Trophy.
“If we weren’t in the Trophy, we’d have been beaten by a team lower than us and I don’t want that.
“We take every situation seriously, we play to win every week and we’re not going to come off that.
“I want to do well in the FA Cup, Trophy and the league and we’re on course, we’re not off course at all.
“We’ve still got half the season to go, and come quarter to five Saturday, we want to be in the next round of the Trophy.
“We’ve very focused, very driven and I feel that if we can put another run together, we’ll stay in there and stay in the cup.”
The boss wasn’t going to dwell on Tuesday night’s disappointment and urged the players to learn their lessons from the thrashing, and quickly.
He said: “We take the other night on the chin, I do, the players do, we stick together.
“I’ve not shown it to them (the DVD), they know by the reaction after the game, they know we’re disappointed, but the goals didn’t come after sustained pressure, but through individual error.
“One thing we’ve got to do is recover now. When you get beat it’s not a nice feeling, but the big thing for us is not to dwell on it.”
Town’s defensive record is becoming a concern though, with 32 goals conceded in the League already, the joint worst record of any team in the top eight, coincidentally with leaders Newport.
Finally being able to select a settled back four would rectify the situation though according to Buckle.
He added: “We’re having to score a couple of goals to win a game, two or three goals, but I felt prior to the game we’d stopped giving soft goals away.
“We lose a man from a set play and we can’t afford to do that, the players know. It’s about players taking things on board and realising we’re not getting second chances.
“We’ve got to eradicate that out of our game quickly, while at the same time, keep working hard, encouraging the players and hopefully get a back four playing week in week out.
“We haven’t been able to play the same back four every week, due to being cup tied or suspension, so it would be nice to get a settled back four.”
One bright spot was a return to goalscoring form for Jon Shaw, who completed another 45 minutes and netted with a clinical finish.
Buckle added: “I’m really pleased. Jon looked back to his old self. He’s had a tough time with injury, been pulled back in pre-season and been out quite a while.
“He looked sharp, looked good and took his goal really well, so it’s really encouraging for me.”
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