Still keeping a close eye on Town’s injury situation

Shaun Whalley
Shaun Whalley

Hatters boss John Still admitted he will be erring on the side of caution with so many players in his squad struggling due to injury.

The likes of Luke Guttridge, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu, Alex Lawless and Paul Benson are all missing until after Christmas, but despite those absentees, Still’s patched up side managed to defeat Bury in the FA Cup on Tuesday night.

The manager said: “I’ve got to be be careful. We’ve got a lot of people out and we’ve got to be sparing with people who we do play as I can’t afford for too many people to get injured, as we don’t need any more.

“I never really talk about players unavailable, but when I think about the attacking players we don’t have available, I think we did remarkably.”

The likes of Shaun Whalley and Luke Rooney both started against the Shakers in midweek and Still confirmed he was keeping a watchful eye on the duo, particularly in the latter stages as he replaced Whalley for Matt Robinson.

He continued: “We’ve tried to be careful with Shaun as he’s not had a lot of football.

“We played him down the middle on Saturday (against Morecambe) so he wouldn’t have to have the up and down bit, because we knew we had the FA Cup game.

“Shaun was doing okay, but he was tiring and we can’t afford him to get injured if I’m being honest.

“We’ve got to use people sparingly and we felt it might be the right night to go with Shaun and Rooney, who are both attacking players and we’ve not really had that option.

“We were trying to look at the best way of getting a little bit of pace around the final third, as we’re without Pelly, because he gives us that little bit of pace as does Lawless.”

Rooney was noticably struggling in the closing stages after cramping up badly and admitted he was relieved to hear the final whistle.

He said: “When (Jake) Howells came on, I thought it might be me coming off, then he (Still) moved me inside which is probably where I prefer to play.

“Then I ended up have a second wind and felt pretty good for the last 10 minutes, I’m just glad they didn’t score as I’m not sure I had another half an hour in me.

“It’s just cramp. I’m probably better off saying what muscle I didn’t have it in. I’ve been a long time out, and although I’ve taken care of myself and played a lot of ressie games, it’s not quite the same no matter how good the standard they are.

“Especially against a team like Bury who move the ball about as well as they do, so we’re doing a lot of running.

“We coped with them well so credit to the staff, the gameplan was spot on.”

Striker Ross Lafayette continued his comeback from injury too with another promising 20 minutes and Still added: “We’re just trying to do what suits the players best. There’s a few players that have been out for a while and Ross came on and did fantastic. He’s not ready (to start) yet but everyone’s acquitted themselves well.”