Justin prepared to bide his time for Luton chance

James Justin celebrates scoring against Stevenage on Saturday
James Justin celebrates scoring against Stevenage on Saturday

Defender James Justin has been prepared to bide his time in his bid to win a place back in the Luton side once more.

The teenager was a regular in the starting line-up last season, making 39 appearances after breaking through from the U18s and taking his chance.

I’m not someone to get overly agitated or angry, I’ll just bide my time and when it comes, just try my best and take it.

James Justin

However, a hamstring injury while on England U19 duty saw him miss pre-season, with the form of summer signing Jack Stacey then keeping him on the bench.

But a suspension to Dan Potts saw Justin in as left back against Stevenage on Saturday, as Luton romped to a 7-1 victory, and when discussing his time out, the youngster said: “It’s been frustrating, but I’m not someone to get overly agitated or angry, I’ll just bide my time and when it comes, just try my best and take it.

“As a personal thing for me, I want to get back in the team, but the team’s winning and you’ve got to be happy the team’s winning and getting up that table.”

On his change of role, heading over to the opposite flank for a position he took on his full debut against Aston Villa last season, Justin continued: “I’d say I’m not as comfortable on my left as my right, but if needed I can do a job there.

“Once Pottsy comes back we’ll see what happens, because he’s been excellent as well.

“We’ve got three or four who can slot in there and play just as well as Pottsy has been for the whole of the season.

“It’s been hard to get in the team with the full backs playing so well, but I’m glad I took my chance when I got it.

“The first half I was a bit lacklustre on the ball, but I felt I defended well throughout the game and popped up with a goal courtesy of Elliot Lee.

“I knew he was going to find me, but finished it well, and I’m happy we won.”

Justin, who made way for Potts as Town won 4-1 at Exeter on Tuesday night, knows that dislodging Stacey is going to be a desperately hard task, but accepted that he will face these challenges throughout his career.

He said: “He’s been fantastic, you couldn’t want more from a right back to be honest.

“I think probably he’s added three or four assists so far this season, a goal, what more could you want from a right back? He’s been excellent.

“Any club you go to is going to be a battle for spots and you’ve just got to try and do your best in that battle and take that spot.”

Justin’s lack of action had led to a few chats with boss Nathan Jones, who turned down a number of bids for his defender in the summer, as the teenager explained: “I love Luton and this is where I wanted to play my football this season so I stayed obviously.

“He (Jones) reiterated to me that I’m a key player of me and he’ll do what he can to get me on the pitch when he can.”

Thankfully, Justin has showed no signs of a recurrence of the injury which curtailed his start to the season, as he added: “It’s just one of those hamstring ones where you think it’s gone and it comes up again, one of those ones recurring and just frustrating really.

“The injury was frustrating and everyone was playing so well that I couldn’t get back in the team, but I knew as soon as I got my chance that I’d put the best case for myself to stick in the team.”

On beating a side containing four ex-Luton players in Ronnie Henry, Luke Wilkinson, Fraser Franks and Jonathan Smith, Justin added: “It’s unbelievable to win against them.

“Obviously we didn’t do so well last season, they sucker punched us at theirs and at ours, we weren’t at it.

“It’s good to get one over on them and keep climbing up the table.

“A few years ago I was doing Fraser Franks’s boots, now I’m beating them 7-1, but to be fair they’re all great lads and happy to see them again.”