Mackail-Smith decision expected on Monday

Craig Mackail-Smith
Craig Mackail-Smith

Monday is the day that Luton will learn if they’ve landed Craig Mackail-Smith with the striker set to announce if he will sign for the club.

Manager John Still revealed the deadline after starting the 31-year-old in Saturday’s 1-1 pre-season friendly draw with Coventry City.

“He’s turned down League One and Championship clubs – not top ones – and he said that we would talk this coming Monday and he would make his decision. Nothing has changed since then,” said the Hatters boss.

“When I say that nothing has changed, nothing has come along that he has intimated he would be interested in. So at the moment I think we’ll get to Monday and see what happens, but I think that him playing today was a big indication.

“People today have seen his energy, his attitude to the game. It’s very good. He has got something that I think is a valuable asset for us. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that we can work something out.”

Mackail-Smith has been training and playing with Luton all summer after his release from Brighton at the end of last term. Still was the manager that helped kick-start his career when, as Dagenham chief, he signed the forward from Arlesey Town.

From there he went on to star at Peterborough and earned full Scottish international honours before moving to the Seagulls.

Dropping to League Two with Luton would be something of a coup for the club and new Hatters striker Jack Marriott would love to call Mackail-Smith a team-mate.

The 20-year-old, released by Ipswich in May, said: “Personally, from a learning perspective, you’re not going to learn from anyone better.

“I’d like to think we’re fairly similar players, with our work-rate et cetera. It would be a really good learning curve to play with him and learn from him, but it’s understandable if he looks to go higher because he has that ability.”

While Still won’t be pursuing deals for trialist striker Calvin Zola and Mustapha Tiryaki, he did admit that integrating his ten new signings is not proving too tricky, with a plan formulating in his mind about what 11 to start the season with.

He said: “The picture is pretty clear, if I’m being honest. Sometimes that’s a bit unusual because it can take you a [couple of] games into the season to try to see a picture emerging when you get a lot of new players. I’m actually seeing a picture emerging.”

Two more home pre-season tests remain with Tuesday’s visit of Brentford and Saturday’s clash against Walsall, which will give Still the chance to fine tune even further.

“The next two games will get our tempo up to the right speed,” he said. “When you’re bedding in players, you need them to get the tempo, but you can’t do it straight away. We’ve done it gradually and we’re quite pleased.

“We’ve got two other good games. Brentford is going to be a tough one and Walsall is still going to be tough, but they’ll get us ready for the season.”