Still hints Mackail-Smith will sign for Hatters

Craig MacKail-Smith under pressure during the Friendly match between Luton Town and Coventry City. Photo by Liam Smith.

Craig MacKail-Smith under pressure during the Friendly match between Luton Town and Coventry City. Photo by Liam Smith.

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Manager John Still has hinted that Craig Mackail-Smith will sign for Luton on Saturday.

The Hatters boss confirmed that talks had taken place on Monday as originally planned, but likely due to contract clauses with former club Brighton no announcement was made by the club. And a deal looked further in doubt when the striker was not named in the pre-season squad that beat Brentford 2-1 on Tuesday.

But Mackail-Smith was later spotted watching the friendly from the Kenilworth Road directors’ box, wearing the club’s training kit, suggesting a deal is still alive.

Verbally, at least, boss Still was keeping his cards close to his chest when asked about the result of Monday’s talks with the free agent, but he looked a happy man when he said: “We had the chat and I’m sure we’ll have a good conversation on Saturday.”

Luke Wilkinson had put the Hatters ahead against the Bees with a powerful first half header and, talking about the prospect of Mackail-Smith signing, he said: “I don’t know what is going on but if he joined it would be absolutely brilliant and I’d welcome him straight through the door. It would be a very good signing.”

The defender was part of a back four that played the whole 90 minutes against Brentford, offering a glimpse at a possible starting back line for the first game of the League Two season at Accrington Stanley on August 8.

Despite the focus being on a new star attacking recruit, boss Still was quick to praise the efforts of centre back and his colleagues Steve McNulty, Stephen O’Donnell and Scott Griffiths.

“We knew it would be a game where we wouldn’t have as much as the ball as against teams from our own level, so it was a good opportunity for organisation and discipline and that was first-class,” said Still.

“I thought our back four was exceptional.

“Steve O’Donnell was the only one that wouldn’t know exactly how we do it, but he’s getting better and better. We’re now seeing his power and his runs, getting forward.

“Everyone did a job to work hard without the ball to minimise their opportunities. It was a good workout for us.”