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Brabin would be happy to throw Poku in against Southport

Hatters boss Gary Brabin

Hatters boss Gary Brabin

HATTERS manager Gary Brabin confirmed he would have no problems in playing midfielder Godfrey Poku at Southport tomorrow, writes Mike Simmonds.

Poku has just completed a three-month loan spell with the Sandgrounders, earning rave reviews but is now back at Luton.

He picked up a two game suspension for reaching 10 yellow cards, before being cup-tied for the FA Trophy clash with Hinckley, but is now in contention for a place in the Town squad at the weekend.

Brabin said: “I don’t think it would be awkward. He just wants to play football and has been training with the group.

“His suspension is up and he’s vying for place, so we’ve got good competition for places.”

Southport boss Liam Watson is keen to wrap up a long-term loan deal for Poku after the weekend, but Brabin wasn’t giving any hints as to whether that transfer would go through.

When asked if would be staying at Kenilworth Road for the remainder of the campaign, the boss continued: “You can’t say that about any player. Godfrey’s very much a Luton Town player and we’re assessing that daily.

“If we ever feel he’s not getting enough football here, we’ll possibly look to loan him out again. It’s up to Godfrey now to push for a place in the side.”

Brabin laughed off suggestions he would tapping into the knowledge of Poku ahead of the trip though, saying: “Anyone who knows Godfrey will know he hasn’t got much knowledge!”

The Haig Avenue club have enjoyed a remarkable campaign since last terms relegation was overturned when Rushden & Diamonds went out of business.

Although successive defeats have seen Port drop to seventh place, they have been above Luton for large parts of the season.

Brabin said: “I think they’re a good, honest team. They work hard and have got quality as well.

“They’ve been up there on merit and we’re expecting a tough game as they’re going to be a bit of a wounded animal having not won the last two games.

“We’ve had them scouted and I try to watch as many games as I can. We know enough about Southport, we know their strengths and their weaknesses.

“The biggest challenge going into every game is getting the best out of the group of players we’ve got. If we play the way we know we can play, I think we can be real force.”

Brabin himself has played for and managed the Sandgrounders, and will be hoping for a better return than last season, as the hosts, inspired by John Paul Kissock, won 2-1 in Richard Money’s last game in charge.

The boss said: “It’s always nice to go back, but can’t really relax and enjoy it, as you’re focused on the main aim which is to get three points.

“It was a disappointing performance last year and certainly want to put that right in this game.”

Kissock gave himself every chance of a recall to the starting line-up with a fine performance in the 0-0 draw at Hinckley United on Wednesday night and Brabin wants more of the same from the talented midfielder.

He said: “What JP Kissock did on Wednesday was exactly what we’ve been asking of him and what we know he’s capable of.

“I know people have seen him and he excites people. We need to get that in 90 minutes of football and try to get him to understand the other side of the game as well.

“He’s desperate to get in the side and with more performances like he produced on Wednesday, he certainly will be.”

Striker Amari Morgan-Smith and defender Shane Blackett are now back in training, new signing Craig McAllister is awaiting international clearance, while midfielder Keith Keane could be fit too although defender Dean Beckwith remains on the sidelines.

Brabin added: “I’m waiting for confirmation on Craig, but I don’t think there’s any problems. Keith isn’t 100 per cent, so we will wait and see with him.

“Shane Blackett and Amari are training again, but Deano is still not training and Alasan Ann is still getting treatments.

“We’ve got one or two who haven’t trained with knocks so will continue to monitor those.”

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