Howells to miss Southend clash

Jake Howells

Jake Howells

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Hatters will be without Jake Howells for this weekend’s League Two clash with Southend United.

The 23-year-old played 90 minute on Tuesday night as Luton were knocked out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, but was forced to miss training today.

Boss John Still said: “We seem to take a step forward and then a step back because Jake Howells has been unable to train today and we don’t really know how long (he’ll be out).”

On the other rest of the injuries at Kenilworth Road, Still continued: “Fraser Franks is back in training, hopefully he’ll play in a development game next week.

“Shaun Whalley is training full out. He came back and did a great job for us the other day when he wasn’t fit, so he’s back in training now and we’ve taken our foot off the pedal with him.

“Paul Benson who played again the other night has trained this week, so he’s building his fitness levels up.

“Curtley Williams trained today, Paul Connolly trained a little bit of today, Luke Rooney trained a little bit of today, they’re all getting there or thereabouts now. To get people up to speed, we need them to play in some games.

“It’s why we played (Jonathan) Smith and (Nathan) Doyle in a development game the other week, just to give them game time. It’s why we played Paul Benson to try and get them so their fitness levels are the right fitness levels to do the job that we ask them to do.”

There was good news on Alex Lawless, who featured for the second half in midweek after missing most of the season so far.

Still continued: “He’s trained now for a week, he played a bit of a development game, then he played behind closed doors a game here we had for an hour and had 45 minutes the other night.

“His general fitness was good anyway, as he had done a lot of work, so I wouldn’t rule him out of anything at the moment.

“We’ve got a situation with wide people with Rooney not available, now Howellsy’s not available.

“We’ve done a bit of work with Pelly in that situation and think he took to it like a duck to water, he relished that little bit of freedom that role can give you.

“So Lawless coming back into the it could give us two natural wide man which would be a plus.”

The Town boss also had words of sympathy for both Matt Robinson and Jim Stevenson, who have had to make do with places on the substitutes bench recently.

He added: “I love Matt Robinson, I think he did really well at the start of the season.

“Unfortuately the sending off (against Shrewsbury) which I don’t think was, but that’s the situation that we had to deal with and while he’s been out, “Nathan’s got fitter and done very well, Smudger’s come in and done very well, (Andy) Drury’s game has picked up.

“Dukes was out of the team, he missed a couple of games as he was doing so well.

“Robbo, unfortunately his suspension has coincided with other people coming in and doing well.

“So he’s got to keep doing well, keep impressing me.

“If I was Jim Stevenson, I’d be disappointed a little bit as Jim’s done nothing wrong.

“He’s done well, but it’s tough, but that’s what competition does, it makes players perform better and makes the weak weaker and the strong stronger.”