Sheehan relieved to be back in with the sharks once more

Alan Sheehan celebrates his goal against Cardiff City last night
Alan Sheehan celebrates his goal against Cardiff City last night

Luton club captain Alan Sheehan was overjoyed to be thrown in the deep end once more for the Hatters in their Carabao Cup clash at Cardiff City last night.

The 32-year-old last featured for the Hatters back in April when Town won 3-0 at Accrington Stanley on their way to the League One title, only to be forced off with an Achilles injury after six minutes of the second half.

He hasn’t played a competitive contest since, before being named in the starting line-up in Wales yesterday evening, as Luton convincingly moved through to round three, scoring a superb free kick to make it 2-0 just after the hour mark.

On returning, Sheehan said: “It’s my first game in about four months so I was happy.

“I was kind of thrown in the ocean with sharks.

“It was one of them ones, against a good Championship team, (Omar) Bogle and (Isaac) Vassell up front, they’re proven Championship players, (Gary) Madine coming on, it was a great test.

"They’re they type of football matches you want to be involved in, a good stadium, so it was really enjoyable.

“I’m just really happy to get back in, get the feel for it, smell the fear in the tunnel. It’s a nice feeling again, you know?”

When asked about how his injury was holding up after getting a first 90 minutes since December 5, 2018, Sheehan continued: "It’s been happening for three years almost, with tendonitis in my achilles, so it’s sore every day getting up out of bed, but I won’t bore you with that.

“It’s been a few months out, 12-14 weeks so if right was right, I should’ve been coming back into training this week.

"I’m a bit ahead of schedule and I’ve only really been back training the last 12-14 days and he (Graeme Jones) wanted me to get fit.

"We had our eye on this game and from the start he’s had the boys training really hard.

"The togetherness is good and I think we got the rewards for the first time against Barnsley and again tonight, so it’s all coming together nicely.

“The competition for places is good and I think there’s life in the old dog yet.

"I feel good now and I felt really comfortable out there. I just want to be part of it. Any way I can help Luton Town, it’s great for me."

Town boss Jones was fulsome in his praise of Sheehan in the manner that he has been around the squad despite not playing as much as he would have wanted.

He said: "Alan handled it really well, Alan didn’t bank on playing 90 minutes, but he was always going to play 90 minutes.

"I’m delighted for him because he’s a wonderful footballer, but he’s got the other side of the game.

"I know what it’s like when you’ve been injured for a long time, you doubt yourself and sometimes wonder if you’ll ever get back to the level you’re at.

“He’s been a leader off the pitch when he isn’t stripped and he’s contributing about the place and that’s all you ask for from people."

There had been speculation in the summer that Sheehan may look to take on more of a coaching role, but at 32, and with over 400 professional appearances under his belt, he isn't finished yet.

The former Notts County defender added: "I just want to contribute any way I can.

"I know there were a lot of rumours going around about different things, about me not playing and stuff like that, but I’m just happy.

"I still want to play and I feel like I’ve got a lot to offer, but the boys have done really well in our position.

"It doesn’t make you any worse as a player or anything like that, the boys are doing well and as long as they’re doing well, you just got to be ready for your opportunity.

“The competition for places is good and I think there’s life in the old dog yet.

"I feel good now and I felt really comfortable out there. I just want to be part of it. Anyway I can help Luton Town, it’s great for me."