Competition is key for Shea as he looks to remain number one

Hatters keeper James Shea
Hatters keeper James Shea

Keeper James Shea insists that the battle between himself and Marek Stech for the number one jersey at Kenilwlorth Road this term can only ensure he maintains his best form.

The 27-year-old, who came through the ranks at Arsenal, admitted that not having that the challenge from within the squad hampered him at previous club AFC Wimbledon, so he is relishing the prospect this time.

I’ve just got to keep playing well and keep my shirt as I know if I don’t play well, he’s going to be sniffing down my neck.

Nathan Jones

He said: “I love competition. I remember a few years ago when I was at Wimbledon, I probably didn’t have the competition and probably slacked down a little bit.

“But now I’ve got competition, I think it’s the best thing.

“It’s not just the goalkeeping area either, there’s competition everywhere.”

After making eight appearances in League Two last season and beginning this campaign on the bench, it appears Shea will get a real run at establishing himself in goal, having started the last three games in place of Stech.

He continued: “I hope so, that’s my aim.

“I want to play, like Stechy. Stechy was absolutely brilliant last year, he’s been brilliant and we both want to play.

“We’re both fighting, we’re both pushing each other.

“Thankfully I’m playing at the minute and I’ve just got to keep playing well and keep my shirt as I know if I don’t play well, he’s going to be sniffing down my neck.”

Shea was between the posts once more for Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Wycombe, as although Luton made it three games unbeaten, he felt they were frustrated not to register another victory.

On how the players felt afterwards, he said: “I think it’s a bit disappointment as we were a bit sluggish first half.

“It’s been a bit of the same story so far, we give ourselves a mountain to climb in the second half, but in the second half teams can’t live with us and the way we play, we could have won the game in the end.”

Shea had to watch his opposite number Ryan Allsop, who was at fault for Town’s leveller, make a string of vital saves from Elliot Lee, Dan Potts and Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu to ensure his side a point.

He said: “I’m down the far end and it looks like he made some great saves, fair play to him.

“He got his little bit of luck he probably deserved when it hit the post and fell back in his hand.”

With Luton visiting seventh-placed Doncaster Rovers this weekend, Shea knows they can’t afford to carry on relying on their powers of recovery to keep the unbeaten run going.

He added: “That’s the aim, that’s been our problem lately, we’ve been going behind and giving ourselves mountains to climb. Thankfully we climbing them at the minute and hopefully we start getting the first goal and going away from teams.”