Fit-again striker Craig Mackail-Smith has declared himself ready to play a part for the Hatters during tomorrow’s League Two clash with Mansfield Town at Kenilworth Road.
The 32-year-old ended a nightmare six months by playing his 45 minutes against Barton Rovers in midweek after breaking his tibia at Plymouth Argyle back in March.
If I get to be involved 10-15 minutes with the first team then that’s great exposure for me to get stronger and get ready for 90 minutes with the first team.Craig Mackail-Smith
Although boss Nathan Jones has confirmed Mackail-Smith won’t start when the Stags visit, he didn’t rule out the idea of using the forward as an impact substitute, a role the former Brighton and Peterborough frontman is happy to fill.
He said: “If I was called upon and the gaffer wanted to put me in the squad then I’d be ready to go and play whatever part he needs me to play.
“Then it’s just building on minutes and if I get to be involved 10-15 minutes with the first team then that’s great exposure for me to get stronger and get ready for 90 minutes with the first team.
“The front boys have been doing fantastic, obviously Hylts (Danny Hylton) and Jack (Marriott) have been on fire and it was great to see Vass (Isaac Vassell) and Josh (McQuoid) on the outskirts are vying for places.
“Vass on Tuesday night looked very sharp, so it’s great competition and I want to be vying for a place and going up against these guys and playing the best I can play to get in the team.
“The rest of the boys are doing a great job, the team’s ticking along nicely, so there’s fantastic competition all over.”
Mackail-Smith was thrilled to get the first half during Luton’s 3-0 win over Barton in the Beds Senior Cup on Tuesday night, with Sharpenhoe Road a ground he knows well.
The striker hasn’t felt any ill effects afterwards either, as he continued: “I played there over 12 years ago for Arlesey Town, then I was a flying right winger, so it was rolling back the years, but it was nice to get out and play 45, it’s been a while.
“There was no need to go more than that and end up pulling something because I’m fatigued, it’s build it up slowly, get more and more minutes, body will adjust more, get stronger and then work up to 90 minutes.
“Yesterday (Wednesday), trying to get out of bed was really difficult, but it’s been harder as I’ve noticed since I’ve got a little bit older, it takes a bit longer to recover.
“So I do all the right things and make sure my body’s in the best health I can be and then I’ve got great people here who look after me, just doing that and making sure I keep getting games.”
On how he felt his comeback went, Mackail-Smith added: “It’s good to get the rust out of the legs and mind and push on for the next few games.
“Stuff you get from games you can’t get from training, you work as hard as you can in training, try and get sharp, in games it’s completely off the cuff and you’ve got to react to different situations.
“So that’s the type of games I need to get my body moving again, adjusting, get my mind sharp to where the ball’s going to be.
“I really enjoyed it and hopefully these next few weeks I’ll get more minutes in and get stronger.”