Cranie is aiming to become a first team regular with Town

Martin Cranie on the ball against Welwyn Garden City
Martin Cranie on the ball against Welwyn Garden City

An opportunity of regular first team football and the chance to play for manager Graeme Jones were the main reasons behind Martin Cranie’s decision to move to the Hatters this summer.

The 32-year-old featured 15 times last term as Sheffield United won promotion to the Premier League, making nine starts.

The campaign before saw Cranie begin just four times though during spells at Huddersfield Town and Middlesbrough.

On making the move to Luton, he said: “For the stage I’m at in my career, I wanted to go to a football club where I feel I can go and play more regularly.

“Obviously the team’s doing really well at the minute and not by any means do I just think I can come and play at all though.

“I spoke to a couple of managers too, but when I spoke to this manager, it was just the way he spoke about football and the way I like to play football.

“That was what really pushed it for me, I think it was quite a good fit.”

Even though it is Jones’ first time as a manager, he still had enough about him to impress Cranie, who completed his 15th seasons as a pro last term.

The defender continued: “I spoke to the manager here a couple of times over the summer.

“It took a while to get the deal sorted that would sort us both, but the way he wants to play football and the way I like to play football is quite similar.

“So as soon as we had a chat about it, it was very positive.

“If you look at the clubs he’s been at and the people he’s worked under, they always try and play good football.

“You don’t work for teams like that if you’re not good at your job.

“Now he’s stepping up to the manager role, it’s slightly different to what he’s done before, but he’s worked for big teams and big managers, so I’m sure he’s got some great ideas for us.

“He’s picked up a lot of good things along the way, he can try and implement them on the squad here.

“We’ve got a few weeks before the first game and hopefully we can crack it.”

With the Blades winning promotion to the Premier League last term, and Cranie playing his part in the run-in, starting seven of the final 15 matches, he had thought there might be a chance of staying at Bramall Lane.

That wasn’t the case though, as Cranie said: “The first half of the season, I didn’t really play quite a lot, it was since January onwards I started getting my games.

“I played in some quite big games towards the end of the season and felt I played my part. As if you go up and you haven’t really played, obviously you’re happy, but you don’t feel as involved, but I got my games and it was a brilliant season.

“I kind of thought maybe I might get another deal there but it wasn’t to be. We did what we did at the end of last season, so it ended up a positive.”

Cranie can figure in a number of roles in the back-line for Town this term, although when asked where his favourite position is, he added: “It’s been quite weird over the years for me, as I’ve played any number of positions across the back four.

“I started off as a holding central midfield when I was younger, and then I dropped back into centre half.

“I did well there, then was moved to right back and started playing three at the back, this side, that side, so I’m quite familiar with a lot of positions, if needs be, if I’m playing.”