Mackail-Smith’s return a real boost to Hatters’ attacking options

Craig Mackail-Smith takes the plaudits after setting up Luton's goal against Milllwall

Craig Mackail-Smith takes the plaudits after setting up Luton's goal against Milllwall

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Hatters boss Craig Mackail-Smith has made an impressive comeback from his broken leg suffered against Plymouth in March according to boss Nathan Jones.

The 32-year-old made his first appearance for almost eight months at Exeter City on Saturday and then followed that up with a first start in Tuesday night’s Checkatrade Trophy 3-1 defeat at Millwall.

He’s a fantastic goalscorer. He’s played at a very high level, you can just see that he’s got so much energy.

Danny Hylton

He played a huge part in Town taking the lead too, when his cross was turned in by Lions defender Shaun Hutchinson, before being replaced by Zane Banton just after the hour mark, as Jones said: “He’s looked decent to be fair, he’s come back with a real freshness and an energy.

“I was pleased with him for the goal as he’s getting his minutes, he’s getting there, getting his sharpness and so on and I thought he was put in a real good shift.

“We saw that at the weekend and the other night as well, his work-rate and his runs were what we expected from him and coupled alongside him, Isaac Vassell, I thought they were a real threat.

“Josh McQuoid backed them up as well and I thought we had good options upfront.”

Team-mate Danny Hylton was thrilled to welcome a player of Mackail-Smith’s experience back into the squad too, as the pair should signs of an instant understanding during their brief partnership in the closing stages at St James Park.

It was Hylton who sent the substitute through to win a crucial spot-kick late on as Luton’s leading scorer said: “He’s a fantastic goalscorer. He’s played at a very high level, you can just see that he’s got so much energy.

“He’s quick, he’s powerful and strong and that was summed up in the penalty that he won.

“He showed great speed, great strength to get in front of the boy and he won the penalty.

“He held the ball up when Pelly got sent off and he had to go up front on his own and did really well, so we’re delighted to have him back.”

The return of Mackail-Smith will only help bolster Hatters’ attacking choices going into a busy spell of games before Christmas, as Jones added: “The competition we have now with six strikers, as I include Jordan Cook in that as well, so we’ve got six top level strikers for this league.

“Isaac was a real threat all game and led the line really, really well (against Milllwall), so we’ve got good competition and they know they have to be at it. But it also gives us options to freshen it up if we need it.”