Mackail-Smith confident the goals will start to flow

Craig Mackail-Smith celebrates his goal against Mansfield
Craig Mackail-Smith celebrates his goal against Mansfield

Striker Craig Mackail-Smith believe he is really starting to find his feet in a Luton Town shirt after a much-heralded move in the summer.

The forward has begun to show just why Hatters boss John Still was so insistent on signing him before the campaign, with three starring performances in Luton’s last three games.

“I feel like I’m almost getting where I want to be fitness-wise and strength-wise and the boys are starting to understand how I play.”

Craig Mackail-Smith

Mackail-Smith said: The first five games were difficult as I was finding my feet, finding my fitness and the boys were trying to work out how I play.

“Since Cambridge I feel like I’m almost getting where I want to be fitness-wise and strength-wise and the boys are starting to understand how I play, where the ball needs to go and we’re getting on a good wavelength.

“Having Paddy (McCourt) behind me, he knows where to put the ball, he set up one (against Mansfield) and hopefully there’ll be many more this season.”

Mackail-Smith has found himself as the lone striker for most of the games so far, with little support up top at times, but he is happy playing that position.

He continued: “I don’t mind playing either role.

“Sometimes being a one man is a little bit easier as the two centre halves don’t know which one is picking you up, so I have a lot more space to move in.

“As long as people are getting on the ball and finding me then I’m quite happy to play the lone role.

“If the gaffer wants to play two, then it would be nice to have a partner who can do a little bit of the running as well.”

The former Brighton man’s work-rate can never be called into question either as from minute one to 90, opposing defenders know they are in for a tough afternoon.

Mackail-Smith knows it is an important facet of his game, saying: “I enjoy it. I feel like if I can get to 60, 70 minutes and I’ve run them into the ground, then I know that I will come out on top.

“I believe in how fit I am and what I can do, so if I can get to 70 minutes and I’m still running, then I know defenders are going to be tired.”

The one missing piece that Mackail-Smith hopes can be inserted soon, is a higher amount of chances created by his team-mates.

Of his three goals so far, one has been a stunning 35-yarder, with the other two from the penalty spot.

The striker added: “It’s been a bit difficult but I know they’ll come.

“For me first and foremost it’s about my work up there, holding the ball up and making sure that we can actually get into positions where they can play the ball into me and make chances not just for me either, but for other players too.

“If I can run things ragged then everyone has chances to score as well.

“I know it’s coming slowly, but we’re starting to understand each other now and create a few more chances.”

On his recent performances, boss John Still added: “I think everyone is seeing Craig now getting fitter and getting stronger and when he’s up and completely at it, he’s a terrific player.

“He’s a terrific player at the moment and he’s still getting to the level, so the goal he scored that was disallowed, being get brought down for the penalty and the constant pressuring that he puts on defenders is fantastic.

“That’s the player that Terry and I know from our Dagenham days and we’ve managed Craig exactly the right way.

“If you’re playing against Craig, you know you can’t dither on the ball so that puts pressure on you to move it maybe before you want to move it.

“It gives you a chance of getting the ball back and it’s not just his goalscoring which is very very good, his movement off the ball is very good, but his running power and pressuring of defenders is excellent.”