Hatters striker knows his side are playing for their places

Craig Mackail-Smith
Craig Mackail-Smith

Hatters striker Craig Mackail-Smith is well aware that he and the rest of his team-mates are playing for their places in boss Nathan Jones’ squad at Kenilworth Road next season.

With the recently appointed manager confirming he will be taking steps to streamline his squad, then a summer of change appears to be on the cards.

“Players he doesn’t feel are going to be here will be gone and he’ll bring in players that he wants to play that formation.”

Craig Mackail-Smith

Mackail-Smith is hoping to be part of the new dawn at the club though, despite not having the best of season’s personally, with his match-winner against Hartlepool only his fourth goal in a Luton shirt.

He said: “People want to be in this team next season, so this next two or three month period will give us the base of how the gaffer wants to start next season.

“People are going to understand how he wants to play and what they’re going to have to do to stay in the team and perform.

“He’s working hard with what he’s got here now, trying to instil the way he wants to play and players he doesn’t feel are going to be here will be gone and he’ll bring in players that he wants to play that formation.

“Everyone now is playing for their places really, but I’m enjoying it. It’s been a bit up and down for me, but I feel like I’ve still got a lot in me.

“I’ve just got to work hard, make sure I get in the team and then in the summer work hard as I usually do.

“I will come back strong enough and then push myself for a regular starting spot, with regular goals.”

Jones has stated repeatedly that with more than 30 professionals at his disposal, the squad inherited from former boss John Still is far too big.

When asked if he felt that was the case, Mackail-Smith continued: “A little bit, I’m not the manager, so I’m not going to say anything bad, and I get on with everyone.

“I think it makes for competition for places. If you don’t perform you can find yourself out of the squad not just out of the team, and not playing on a Saturday.

“At this moment in time it makes for good competition, but the gaffer, come the summer, will start to trim it down, make it a smaller unit and that will be interesting.”

Winger Danny Green also knows that the players will need to show Jones they are worthy of remaining at the club, adding: “We’re playing for our futures and I think some of the lads are out of contact in the summer and have got to show that they want to be here next year and deserve to be here.

“It’s a good time for the manager to come in and assess what he wants to keep and what he doesn’t want to keep.

“All the boys have got to try and impress and put in the best performance we can and hopefully we can still do something.”