Intense competition is driving McCormack on for Luton

Hatters midfielder Alan McCormack
Hatters midfielder Alan McCormack

Hatters midfielder Alan McCormack insists that the intense competition around Kenilworth Road is only serving to drive him on during the run-in to the League One season.

The 35-year-old, who has been in wonderfully consistent form since replacing the injured Glen Rea at the base of Town’s midfield in December, has on-loan Derby County midfielder George Thorne battling for his position.

It’s not just in McCormack’s role, but all over the field, with Town’s bench exceedingly strong for the 1-1 draw against Coventry City last weekend, as the likes of Luke Berry, Harry Cornick and Alex Baptiste all missed out completely.

When asked about the pressure on keeping his place in the team, McCormack said: “You need that, I need to know there’s someone sitting there ready to take my place should I have a bad game.

“If I can’t handle that pressure, I don’t deserve to be in the first team.

"If anyone can’t handle the pressure of having somebody on the sidelines waiting to take their chance, well then that person on the sideline needs to be given their chance as they deserve to have it.

"The pressure is excellent for us and the competition around the first team is amazing, I’ve never seen a squad so strong and it’s only going to leave us in good stead.

"Nobody’s moany about it, everyone’s disappointed, but they're eager and itching to get a chance, show Mick what they can do and hopefully get a start. That’s only helpful for us.”

Meanwhile, the Luton midfielder was quick to praise the manner in which Town have continued on their merry way to the top of the table since losing manager Nathan Jones to Stoke City in January, drawing two and winning six league games under Mick Harford’s stewardship.

He continued: "It's a credit to how we believe at this club, we believe in how we play football on a Saturday..

"Our training’s the same, we keep saying this every single week, when people say, 'the belief around the players is superb,' this is the way the club is.

"Eech player believes it, we dont believe in shelling it, we believe in playing football to our structure, to our diamond, rotation, strikers getting in behind and playing great football.

"We’ve been like that for 18 months since I’ve been here, and the six months before that when Nathan came in.

"So a lot of credit goes to Nathan and the way he set the structure and the playing style of this football club up.

"We just try to continue it each week, as Mick’s come in and done a fabulous job.

"He keeps us playing, gives us the belief to go and play, he wants us to go and play even more than Nathan does and you can see it on the pitch."

Luton are now 21 games unbeaten in the Football League, a club record as they have opened up a five point gap over Barnsley, and on just how they have managed that, McCormack added: "It’s the simple things in football.

"You do the basics right, I heard it said a couple of years ago, 'brilliant basics.'

"If you do the basic things in football, the talent that we’ve got, we should be winning games and we should be beating teams.

"So keeping it simple and keeping the basics done right, everything on the ball and off the ball, we’ve done that, we've done that very well.

"That’s the reason why we’re 21 unbeaten, top of the league and playing some excellent football.”