Onus is on Mackail-Smith to prove himself at Luton

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

Hatters boss Nathan Jones admitted the onus is on striker Craig Mackail-Smith to prove he still has a future at Kenilworth Road.

The 32-year-old has made just four appearances this season after recovering from a double leg break in October, his last coming as a second half substitute against Swindon Town in the Checkatrade Trophy, back in December.

He’s got stiff competition, we’re looking to strengthen as well, maybe in that area, so the onus is on him.

Nathan Jones

However, Mackail-Smith is expected to be involved against Chesterfield in the same competition tomorrow night, and when asked if he would be part of his plans beyond that, Jones said: “Of course, if he reaches the levels he can.

“It’s just he’s got stiff competition, we’re looking to strengthen as well, maybe in that area, so the onus is on him.

“If he can recreate the form we know he’s capable of, anyone would want a fit Mackail-Smith.

“He’s back and fit and available and will be involved tomorrow.

“We’re looking forward to getting him up to speed as the reason we haven’t used him in the league is because we’ve had a number of others who are just a bit more up to speed than him.

“So rather than try to get him up to speed in first team games where points are vital, we’ve had to be patient with him, but he’s a lot more where he needs to be now.”

Jones confirmed the former Brighton forward’s lack of first team action hadn’t been down to suffering a setback to his original injury, as he continued: “No, it’s just getting him safely where we need to get him because it’s difficult for him to gather fitness in the first team, especially with the players we’ve got in front of him.

“So we’ve had to be patient with him and build him up if you like.”

When asked if the best way to get the minutes into Mackail-Smith would be by loaning him out during the transfer window, Jones added: “It maybe a possibility, but what we want to do is get him to a level where he’s happy with himself and playing well.

“If that means with us or that means loaning out, then it’s something else, but what we’re focusing on is the right here right now and he’ll be involved tomorrow.”