Luton attacker 'gutted' to miss out on Stacey reunion

Hatters forward Harry Cornick admitted he had and the Town squad were 'gutted' not to come up against former team-mate Jack Stacey in the FA Cup this afternoon.

Saturday, 4th January 2020, 10:00 am
Updated Saturday, 4th January 2020, 10:01 am
Former Hatter Jack Stacey delivers a cross against Brighton
Former Hatter Jack Stacey delivers a cross against Brighton

The right back, who left Kenilworth Road for the Premier League side during the summer, has made an impressive start to his time with the Cherries, playing 10 times so far, including nine top flight starts.

However, he picked up a hamstring injury in the 2-0 defeat to Brighton recently and will now be missing, along with a host of other absentees, including Josh King (hamstring), David Brooks (ankle), Lloyd Kelly (thigh), Nathan Ake (hamstring), Adam Smith (ankle), Arnaut Danjuma (foot) and Charlie Daniels (knee).

Cornick said: “It is a shame, I spoke to him in the week and I'm gutted he’s got an injury.

"He’s gutted as well as he would have loved to have played against us.

“They’ve got a lot of good players, strength in depth, they’ve got some injuries at the minute, so obviously they’re not going to be able to put out their strongest team.

"It's a shame we don’t get to see Stace, I think a lot of the players here and fans probably would have liked to see him down there, so hopefully his recovery goes well and he’s back soon.”

It's the second time this term that Luton would have come up against one of their former stars, going out of the Carabao Cup 4-0 to James Justin's impressive Foxes outfit.

Town chief Graeme Jones said: "It’s very strange in the season that you sell your two full backs to Premier League teams and we draw both of them in the two cup competitions.

"I don’t think he’ll be available, but I’d have loved to have him in our team, so if Bournemouth don’t want him, we’ll have him back no problem."

Cherries boss Eddie Howe didn't expect either Stacey or any of his other injured players to be ready to face the Hatters though, saying: "This weekend, probably not and the week after, we’ll wait and see.

“We need to make sure the players that are injured are not just fit but able to fully perform at their levels so we’re trying to build everybody up as quickly as possible while making sure we don’t re-injure anyone.”

Since leaving in the summer, the Hatters have struggled badly to replace Stacey, plus fellow full back Justin, as they have tried a number of replacements, but are yet to settle on a consistent pairing.

Cornick knows it has been tough but backed the current squad to come good, saying: “Last year, the formation we played, we relied heavily on our full backs to get assists and to get forward and score goals.

"Stace and JJ did that brilliantly, they were probably two of our best players and the reasons we got promoted.

"They created so many chances and got so many assists that we do miss them this year.

"But we’ve got quality there now, we’ve got a couple of injuries in the full back position at the minute, which is a shame, but we’ve got the players here who to do what they did last year and better if not.”