Shea wants to be Luton’s number one

Town keeper James Shea in action
Town keeper James Shea in action
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Town keeper James Shea isn’t settling for a role as Marek Stech’s understudy at Kenilworth Road this season.

The 26-year-old former Arsenal and AFC Wimbledon stopper made his first appearance for over a month on Tuesday night when he started against Peterborough United in the Checkatrade Trophy.

I don’t want to be a number two, I want to play just as much as Stechy wants to play.

James Shea

After catching the eye once more with an excellent display as Luton went out of the tournament on penalties, Shea is now hopeful it will have given boss Nathan Jones a reminder of what he is capable of, saying: “That’s what I’m here to do, I don’t just want to sit on the bench, I don’t want to be a number two, I want to play just as much as Stechy wants to play.

“Whenever I can get a chance to play, hopefully I can do well and just give the manager something to think about.”

Fellow summer signing Stech has been the number one this term, starting all 26 League Two fixtures and four FA Cup games too.

However, he made a costly error for the first goal in the 3-1 defeat at Newcastle on Saturday, following on from two mistakes during the 4-2 win over Lincoln City, as Shea continued: “He was a little bit down after the game, but you would be.

“It’s one of those things as he’s been unbelievable this season, been absolutely brilliant and it’s the line of work we’re in.

“Keepers do make mistakes and it’s a mistake which cost a goal, but pretty much nine times out of 10, it’s going to be a goal.

“We’ve got a real good GK union at the club, me, Stechy and Harry (Isted) and with Kev (Dearden), we all get on really well.

“We all got round him and he’s been brilliant this year.

“Everyone just remembers the mistakes, people don’t remember the great saves you make or anything like that, people just remember the mistakes, it’s just the line of work we’re in, the job we do.

“He’s made great saves this year when we’ve needed it, he’s just had a little bit of a sticky period, which happens with goalkeepers.

“I’ve been through it, I’m sure Stechy will go through it again during his career, it’s just one of those things.”

Whether he felt he had a real chance to stake his claim for the goalkeeper’s spot at Chesterfield on Saturday during Tuesday night’s outing, Shea said: “I don’t know, I’m not the person to ask, that’s down to the manager. All I can do is when I get a chance, hopefully play well and then it’s up to the manager.

“I haven’t had a chat with him at all to be honest, I just keep my head down and work hard and if I get a chance, I get a chance really, that’s all I can do.”

On the performance of his keeper against the Posh in midweek, Jones said: “He pulled off a good save from Jack Marriott and I thought he was secure all night.

“He kicked well, we know what James is, all he did there was just rubber stamp what we already know he is and that’s the best thing about it, we have competition throughout.”

Meanwhile, skipper for the night Alan Sheehan added: “He’s brilliant, Sheasy.

“The thing is you’ve got two great keepers there and it’s hard because Stechy was doing great.

“Sheasy every time he’s played in the Trophy he’s been brilliant, he’d walk into most teams in this division and the division above.

“It’s just frustrating for him, the competition is very strong, but we’re all in it together, so we know we’ll all have a part to play at the end of it.”