Hatters striker Danny Hylton conceded that Town’s chances of going up automatically are over now after they drew 2-2 with doomed Leyton Orient at Kenilworth Road yesterday.
With third placed Portsmouth held 1-1 at home by Plymouth, then victory for Luton would have seen them close the gap to a still difficult to overcome six points with four games to go.
It looked like they were on course to do so once Hylton bagged a 25th of the season in the first period, but O’s, who will more than likely be relegated on Easter Monday, hit back to lead 2-1.
Sub Isaac Vassell came off the bench to salvage a point, but with Hatters remaining eight points adrift of their south coast rivals, Hylton said: “They drew today, so we would have gone six points behind, you’ve got to keep believing, but probably that ship’s sailed now.
“So we’ve got to make sure we cement our place and in the play-offs and just get ready.
“It was such a big opportunity today, if you can handpick a team to play across League Two, you’d chose Leyton Orient.
“We had that today. Look at Portsmouth playing Plymouth and it’s a real opportunity, we just didn’t take it. We’ve just got to make sure we get in the play-offs and get ready for them, make sure we go into the play-offs in as best form as we can, as fresh as we can.
“We need a real mentality that this is it. Forget what’s happened. Not that we’ve not put three wins together all season, a play-off’s a play-off, and if you can put three wins together in the play-offs you win them. So it would be a great time to do that.”
Assistant boss Paul Hart wasn’t giving up completely on catching Portsmouth, although he knows it’s not likely either, adding: “We’ve not gained anything, we’ve not lost too much, and we’ve got to get a result on Monday to cement our place in the play-offs, but equally to put pressure on people above us, ultimately Portsmouth.
“Hopefully they will experience some of these freak results.
“At the end of the season, we’ve all seen stranger things happen. I will say it’s (automatic promotion) a long shot but it’s still there, and we have to keep believing it’s still there.”