Luton boss ready to up Mackail-Smith’s minutes

Luton striker Craig Mackail-Smith
Luton striker Craig Mackail-Smith

Hatters boss Nathan Jones is hoping to give striker Craig Mackail-Smith some much-needed minutes of playing time against Swindon Town in the Checkatrade Trophy tomorrow night

The 32-year-old has been restricted to just three appearances and 90 minutes of first team football in total since his return from a double leg break suffered against Plymouth.

He’s training at a good level and literally it’s just minutes he needs.

Nathan Jones

Mackail-Smith didn’t make the bench for the FA Cup win over Solihull Moors at the weekend, but is back in the reckoning head of a trip to the Robins, as Jones said: “He picked up a little injury against MK Dons last week as its minutes he needs now.

“He’s training at a good level and literally it’s just minutes he needs. So the quicker we can get those minutes into him the closer he’ll be.”

On James Justin and Alex Gilliead who both came off during the 6-2 victory on Saturday with head and ankle injuries respectively, Jones continued: “Both are fine. Obviously it will be a bit more precaution with James as it was more of a bang on the head, but Alex trained fully today.”

Meanwhile, Jones didn’t think that if selected, the likes of Jonathan Smith and Josh McQuoid or Jake Gray need to look at the game as a way to prove themselves worthy of a place in his first team.

He added: “It’s not so much pushing themselves back into contention, because they’re in contention.

“It’s just we pick sides we feel can win games and as I said, it’s a little bit unfortunate for Josh and Jonathan and a number of others that the strength of the squad and how we play.

“Because we’ve lost one in about 11 or 12 games so it’s difficult sometimes.

“But we change stuff up and when we have freshened stuff up we’ve got fined for it, it’s a bit of a vicious circle really.

“We’ve got a good squad, we want to keep them all fit and ready, a lot of them got 90 minutes against MK Dons last week.

“It was a real competitive game, so we’re going into the Christmas period with a freshness about us and a fitness level that will stand us in good stead.”