Lacey happy to be back at the back

Alex Lacey

Alex Lacey

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Centre half Alex Lacey was relieved to be handed his first start since October during Tuesday night’s 1-0 defeat at Mansfield.

In the absence of suspended first choice pairing Steve McNulty and Luke Wilkinson, Lacey was named in the team for the first time since October 21.

He said: “It’s great to be back in the team, although the result is disappointing.

“I’m pleased to get a chance and have 90 minutes.

“It came as two other centre backs got suspended, but any way it comes, I’m not really fussed.”

Town were undone from their own corner just after the half hour mark, with Rakish Bingham racing clear to score as Lacey said: “The goal was very disappointing as we were on the front foot for most of the game and it came from our attacking play.

“I don’t think they had many chances and we defended pretty well. In the final third we just struggled to take our chances and it’s disappointing as we need to keep winning these games if we want to push for promotion.”

Lacey had come on against York City the week before when Luton were held to a 2-2 draw, with boss John Still revealing the defender was suffering from illness and shouldn’t have played.

The defender continued: “Chances don’t come very often so when you get a break you have to make the most of it.

“Hopefully I’ve done that as I was disappointed from Tuesday to come on and concede.”

At Field Mill, Lacey was alongside Fraser Franks, with the pair forging an understanding during development matches as he said: “Me and Fraser have played in the reserves together so I think we’ve got quite a good partnership.”

Goalkeeper Mark Tyler was impressed with Hatters’ new defensive pairing on the night too, saying: “They did really well. We’ve got four quality centre halves at the club so it’s an opportunity for them to step in and go into Macca and Wilko’s shoes.

“I don’t think they were really troubled. They competed well and hopefully it will continue for the next couple of games.”

Tyler did admit it was an odd feeling being without either McNulty or Wilkinson for the first time this season.

He said: “It’s strange. Macca is a leader throughout, even if he wasn’t captain, he’s a leader. Wilko too, but these guys are young, they have to step up.

“Lacey played quite a few games last year so he’s not a stranger and Fraser has come in and slotted in well.

“They’ve got to step up but I thought they did tremendous.

“The more they play will only help. They’re young, they’re fit and all they want to do is play football.

“It bodes well for the future of this football club.”

Meanwhile, boss John Still added: “Both did okay. Defensively I felt really comfortable all game and it wasn’t a defender that made a mistake for the goal.”