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Thomas hopes to hit the ground running for Hatters

Wayne Thomas

Wayne Thomas

Experienced defender Wayne Thomas is hoping he can hit the ground running after signing for the Hatters until the end of the season, writes Mark Wood.

The 33-year-old former Stoke City defender has had a dearth of first team football this season after finding himself frozen out during his recent spell at Veroia in Greece.

He has played just four times this season after a successful spell with Atromitos last term, and seen spells at both Cypriot side Alki Larnaca and Veroia end acrimoniously.

But with over 500 senior appearances to his name, and with many of them coming in the Championship, he is confident he can cope.

“I would say I’m a fit 33. I would say I’m in better shape mentally and physically than when I was at Stoke and 23,” he said.

“I won’t know (how I will cope) until I play to be honest. I think it will be quite a different type of football to what I’ve been used to for the last year and a half.

“I might be lacking a bit of match sharpness. You can’t get match fitness and sharpness other than from a match.

“You can’t simulate the atmosphere and decisions you have to make in a game. I may be a bit match rusty.

“That was one of things I was known for, being a no nonsense centre-half. I’m hoping I should be OK with that part of the league.”

But Thomas knows that he must prove he is worthy of the Luton shirt, to both the players and coaching staff ahead of the visit of Forest Green Rovers on Saturday.

He said: “I’m hoping to be involved but there’s no written law that says I must be involved, there’s no divine right.

“Proving to them I’m good enough and worthy to be wearing the shirt. You have to earn that right to get the shirt.

“First and foremost I’ve got to try and prove I’m worth putting that shirt on and worthy to keep hold of it with my performances.

“Personally I just want to play as many games as possible and to as high a standard as I set myself.

“It’s to try and find some consistency in my own personal performances and hopefully there will come a team consistency.”

Thomas’s CV certainly makes for impressive reading, with Southampton having paid £1million for his services in 2007.

He also played in front of 70,000 people in the Greek Cup final last season and helped Atromitos qualify for the Europa League play-offs, but left for Cyprus before they were due to play Premier League Newcastle United.

Only one face at Kenilworth Road is familiar to Thomas, and he will be competing with him for a spot in Town’s defender.

“Everybody and everything was new to me there apart from Aingey,” he said.

“I know him because I have a lot of friends in the Leeds and Bradford area. So I met him through them a couple of times.”

And he believes his spell in the Mediterranean has changed his game for the better as he has added ball-playing skills to his no-nonsense style.

He added: “I went to Southampton and they were more of a ball-playing team and had to change style slightly.

“Doncaster were a footballing team. Again I had to change my game substantially when I went over to Greece, it’s a completely different style of football. It was a European style, but it was a real culture shock.

“I had to change my game, you couldn’t stand next to a striker without him falling over. I couldn’t play 30 games without changing my game.”

 

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