Still predicting an exciting second half of the season

John Still
John Still

Hatters boss John Still is predicting an exciting second half of the season for his side as long as they can maintain a fully fit squad.

Luton are likely to be without star summer signing Craig Mackail-Smith again this weekend, while dynamic midfielder Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu is recovering from an ankle injury picked up on his return to the first team recently.

“If we can get as many big players in the team as soon as we can, I think that will make a difference.”

John Still

Nathan Doyle will miss the next two weeks, although Paul Benson is now fit after a neck injury and once they’re all available, Still believes his side will flourish.

He said: “When he comes back, he’s fit now Craig, so I think he will come back and hit the ground running.

“If we get that with Benno and Josh (McQuoid), that’s decent, and get Pelly back, the second half of the season could be really exciting for us.

“If we get those attacking players on the pitch, I’m going to be more than happy with what we’ve got.

“For me Pelly’s been a massive miss. Even the part of the game he played, he did three of four runs when he gets on it and drives and goes past people, they’re things that are hard to get.

“But hopefully all this will come together and make the second half of the season from January onwards, really, really good for us.”

Town go into this weekend’s home game with Barnet in 13th position, but despite an indifferent start, remain just four points off the play-offs and six away from third spot.

Still continued: “I think that we’ve played okay, we’re in a terrific position too.

“Would I like a few more points than we’ve got? Yes I would, but not ridiculously more.

“Keeping people fit has been a little bit of a problem for us to get consolidation within our team.

“It would be good to have a regular playing all the time Nathan Doyle, it would be good to have Paul Benson and Craig Mackail-Smith available all of the time, together, they’d be obvious pluses.

“But it hasn’t and with that not being quite how we’d quite like it, we’ve still managed to keep ourselves close enough to be able to mount an attack and I’m absolutely delighted with that.

“If we can get as many big players in the team as soon as we can, I think that will make a difference.”

Scoring goals at Kenilworth Road has been an issue for Luton this term, with the Hatters netting nine in eight games as opposed to 17 in the same amount of matches on their travels.

It has hampered their home form, with Town winning just twice in front of their own supporters so far, although why that is, Still said: “I wish I knew, I just think it’s how things turn out sometimes.

“There’s been a couple of games where we’ve been really patient and won it, a couple of game where on another day the late goals, through sometimes literally no fault of your own, have gone in. We certainly have to improve our home form but we’ve got no problems in scoring.

“We’re not scoring as many at home as we do away, but I know we can score and think we’ll start putting that right at home.

“Although not as good as I’d like it, the goals against has got better. We’ve got to carry on scoring goals and almost give nothing away in terms of conceding and I think that’s the path to success for everybody,”

Still remains optimistic his side can reach the summit too, even though current leaders Plymouth are already 13 points above them.

He added: “It can never be too far away and over that amount of games there are left, you never know what’s going to happen.

“We can only control the controllables, but we’re pretty confident if we can go on a run that perhaps would be similar to the run we went on last year where we climbed right the way through and the year previous, that’s the sort of run we’ve got to find. But different to last year, we’ve got to maintain it.”