Newly-crowned Skrill Premier manager of the month John Still admitted he was unsurprised to see loan midfielder Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu recalled by injury-hit West Ham United, writes Mark Wood.
The on-loan Premier League starlet had shone for the Hatters in the seven games he played during his loan spell and Town had hoped to extend his stay, but injuries in the Hammers defence saw them recall him today (Monday).
At today’s press conference though, well-again Town chief Still admitted he may look to resurrect the deal in the future or even bring in someone else of a similar ilk on-loan after losing midfield dynamo Jonathan Smith to a double leg break in the 2-1 victory at Barnet on Boxing Day.
Still confirmed: “He’s gone back to West Ham, because West Ham ended up with two full-backs playing at centre-half for them at the weekend and he plays centre-half at West Ham and they’ve taken him back.”
Town had been in discussions to keep Mpanzu and, on whether they might look to get him back in the future, Still continued: “That’s something we’ll look at of course. He’s West Ham’s player and I understand the reasons, West Ham haven’t got any defenders!
“So it’s understandable that it would happen. I saw a bit of the West Ham game on the TV and I saw James Tomkins come off and in the back of my mind I thought that’s going to mean him going back, that’s how I saw it.
“And so from that point of view it wasn’t a massive surprise. But of course I’ll leave that open and hope if we get in a position that we need him it will be possible.
“But when I looked at the game, and I looked at Matt Robinson, Alex Lawless I know can play there, the squad is strong.
“We’ve got (Solomon) Taiwo coming back, we’ve got (Andy) Parry coming back, which doesn’t mean to say we won’t loan somebody else, we don’t know that yet.
“I’m fully aware of where we are, I’m fully aware if we need to do something. We’ll have to wait and see.”
However, with Jonathan Smith suffering a double leg break in Town’s 2-1 Boxing Day victory at Barnet, Guinea-Bissau international Arnaud Mendy departing and Parry and Taiwo still recovering from hernia operations, Still could look to bolster his midfield.
He said: “With Pelly going back and more so Jonathan’s situation, it probably leaves us one short if I’m honest.
“But Parry is coming back and plays in there so I think that’s going to be a day-by-day thing, keeping our finger on the pulse really of what think we can do if we need to.”
The pragmatic boss though admitted though that he never expected to keeper Mpanzu long term.
He added: “In my mind, I always thought they would take him back, I’ve got to be honest.
“With these youth loans, they can come and go, and I wasn’t sure he would be here for the long term.
“I thought he might come here for a while and go back, because if he’s done well and they’re looking at that and they’re not doing the best, even for someone going on the bench who’s young and enthusiastic.
“I always thought there might be a bit of to-ing and fro-ing with him, I did actually think that.”