Gambin reveals Town's squad have addressed their lack of discipline
Midfielder Luke Gambin revealed the Luton players addressed their collective lack of discipline after James Collins was sent off in the 1-1 draw at Cambridge United on Saturday.
Collins saw red after 77 minutes for two bookings in quick succession, leaving the field with the Hatters 1-0 ahead, before U’s striker Jabo Ibehre levelled the scores just six minutes to go, ensuring the visitors left with just a point.
The striker’s dismissal by referee John Brooks for handball and then dissent was Luton’s eighth red card already this season, as Gambin said: “It is something we’ve addressed as a team just then, as it’s important now that we keep the momentum and keep going.
“We’re frustrated and we’ve had a chat among ourselves as a squad as it’s come to that stage of the season now where we need to keep that focus and that momentum, stick together.
“We’ve had a talk as a group, we just need to stay focussed, we’re on the home straight, we just need to rally together.
“Anything can happen in a game of football. Collo’s shouted at the ref because of the heat of the moment. We were under a tiny bit of pressure, we thought it had gone out for a goal kick, he’s given a corner and it’s just instant, a referee's decision.
“He is frustrated, he just reiterated what the incident was. It was all such a blur, I didn’t even know he’d been booked and the red came out and I was thinking 'oh god, here we go.'
"He apologised, I didn’t think too much was going on and for him to then to pull out the red card it was a shock, but we all get behind him as we’re a tight knit squad."
Although Collins followed Scott Cuthbert, Glen Rea, Alan Sheehan, Jordan Cook, Luke Berry, Jack Stacey and Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu in being dismissed, when asked if he felt the on-field discipline was becoming an issue for the Hatters, Gambin continued: “I wouldn’t say it was a problem.
“We’ve got a lot of experienced, passionate players and I think, when the game is going that way, the Cambridge fans are getting behind (their team), the atmosphere’s turning, the ref can get caught up.
“In a split second, there’s rules and if you cross them and sometimes passion can come out of you and can get you in trouble.
“All the red cards this season, we have been ill disciplined, but I wouldn’t say it’s out of being nasty, it’s out of us wanting to win.
“We’ve made a few mistakes, individuals have made mistakes, but it’s all because we’re so competitive and we know to be at the top we’ve all got to compete and give 100 per cent."
Team-mate Berry also knows that the Hatters can't afford to keep going down to 10 men, despite their fine record of still triumphing when a player light, having done it four times already and only actually losing twice.
He said: “We’ve spoken about it before, we’ve had some good displays with it, Lincoln when we went down to 10 men we’ve done well, but it’s tricky to do it.
“I don’t know how many players we’ve had sent off and how many times we’ve done it, but it’s tricky to do it every three, four games, so we just need to try and keep cool on the pitch.
“I know it’s hard at times, but just one of those things.
“It’s happened a few times now, so we need to stop that from happening. That’s the only thing that really affecting us, when a man gets sent off, if we can stop that I’m sure we will blast teams away again.
Meanwhile, Gambin felt that with his side leading the way at the summit, it is imperative they keep cool heads during the final 11 games of the season whatever comes their way.
He added: “Sometimes you can give 100 per cent and try to hard and maybe get sent off, like Cookie.
“He’s been brilliant, he had a red card the other day (at Grimsby) and when you’re out of the team, for me especially, you want to come on and make such an impact.
“I believe as well that we’re at the top at the moment and teams are going to do anything they can to get one up on us.
"The opposition fans, the way the game goes, they’re going to do anything to get players booked, make us make a mistake, make us react to things and we’ve just got to stay focussed on the goal and what we’re doing.”