Still backs Lacey and Franks to step up

Up for the battle: Fraser Franks
Up for the battle: Fraser Franks

Hatters manager John Still has backed Alex Lacey and Fraser Franks to step up in the absence of first choice centre back pairing Steve McNulty and Luke Wilkinson tomorrow night.

The trip to Mansfield will be the first time Luton have started a game this season without either of their defensive lynchpins, but Still believes Town’s replacements are just as capable.

He said: “They’re both people who have played in the first team and who have really waited for their chance because of the form of Steve and Wilko.

“Well, now’s their chance. They’ve got to step up to the plate now and prove they can do the job.

“There was always going to be a time when someone got to show they can do the job, well they’ve got to show they can do the job.”

Franks, who started the 1-0 win over Carlisle at the weekend, was full of belief in both his and Lacey’s abilities.

He continued: “I’m confident we’ll step up and do well for the boys, me and Lacey are fit lads and will do a job for the team.

“We’ve got two away games now, but we played against Mansfield at home recently and we beat them quite convincingly.

“I know it’s going to be a lot different away from home, but I don’t see why we can’t go there full of confidence and get a win.”

Meanwhile, Mansfield have often adopted a more direct approach this term, but Still thought that would be to the liking of his re-modelled defence.

He said: “Some centre halves prefer balls coming on to them and you’d think it’s the case with most centre halves, they’d want to head the ball.

“As a defender, you get a smile on your face doing that and for some people, getting the ball out of your box is like scoring a goal.

“As a centre half they should enjoy that combat and that competition.”

The boss also confirmed that the club wouldn’t be appealing Wilkinson’s dismissal from the weekend, after they failed in their attempts to have McNulty’s red against York rescinded.

He added: “It was a sending off, I’ve got no complaints about that.

“It happened really quickly and he had to make a decision, Would he have been in and scored a goal? We don’t know. He got sent off that’s fair enough, I don’t complain about it.

“It’s funny though, when you talk about appealing, to me the two sendings off in the last game with Steve McNulty being ours, there’s no way on the DVD that they’re sendings off for me.

“I’m always pretty open, but no way on earth. Maybe we should have appealed as this was a definite sending off for me, but it’s just how it goes.”