Wilkinson impressed with Town’s defence in McNulty’s absence

Luke Wilkinson

Luke Wilkinson

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Hatters defender Luke Wilkinson was delighted to keep a clean sheet in the absence of skipper Steve McNulty on Tuesday night.

The Luton captain, who has started every league game since August 10, 2013, was absent with his partner in labour.

Wilkinson, who was partnered by youngster Alex Lacey, said: “We all know he’s expecting a child, but I was expecting him to be here.

“Whatever team the gaffer chooses, that’s what he chooses, but I think me and Lacey performed well for the team.

““It’s very important we did well and it’s not all about one pairing.

“There’s going to be times over the season when people are injured and people are not performing as well as they can and the gaffer is going to change it up.

“So whoever comes into the team has to be ready every week.

“It’s disappointing if you’re not involved, but you’ve got to be ready to perform when you are on the pitch.”

Playing alongside Lacey didn’t come as a huge shock to Wilkinson either, as he continued: “We do a lot of work in training, the gaffer always mixes it up and changes it around, so it’s not always one pairing playing together.

“Everyone’s used to each other, so it was easy really.

Boss John Still was also hugely impressed with his new centre back pairing, as he said: “It shows how far we’ve come as Steve’s a massive player for us, but I thought particularly Wilko had a grip there .

“Macca is a miss because of his presence, but football’s football and sometimes things happen, players have to step up and they can step up.

“When you look at it, no (Paul) Connolly, no (Steve) McNulty, no (Paul) Benson, no (Alex) Lawless, they’re really important players for us.

“But the young ones are pushing on for us now, that’s the plus.

“I’m quite comfortable now. Are we going to win every game? No of course we’re not, but the team’s all right now.”

Hatters switched back to a flat back four on the night, as opposed to the 3-5-2 they had played against Cheltenham on Saturday.

Wilkinson is happy in either formation though, and even more pleased to keep a second clean sheet in succession.

He added: “We haven’t done a lot work on the 3-5-2 but last week we did, and I think Saturday it worked well because we matched Cheltenham.

“We’re used to playing a 4-4-2 or 4-3-3, whatever you want to call it, so we’re all comfortable with it.

“As a defender, that’s your aim to keep a clean sheet every week, so I’m pleased with my contribution. To help the team get another clean sheet is important.”

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