Justin backed to step up in Stacey absence

Hatters defender James Justin has been backed to step up in the absence of Jack Stacey for the next three games.

Thursday, 21st December 2017, 8:22 am
Updated Thursday, 21st December 2017, 8:26 am
James Justin celebrates victory at Forest Green

The 19-year-old was one of the major success stories from last season having played 39 times in his breakthrough campaign.

It was enough to earn the right back a call-up to the England U19s and U20s squads, while Luton also turned down a number of offers for his services, including one in the region of seven figures from Championship side Nottingham Forest in the summer.

However, an injury when on international duty and the arrival of Stacey has seen Justin make just one start in the league this term.

That should change over the festive period though, with Stacey out for three matches after being sent off during the 2-0 win at Forest Green on Saturday, which means Justin is expected to go straight in for the fixtures against Grimsby, Swindon and Port Vale.

The teenager was introduced for the final half hour at the New Lawn, impressing in that time too, as keeper Marek Stech said: “He came in, he’s been brilliant for the last 20, 30 minutes, put in some decent crosses and he’s the future of this club.

“He’s a big player and it was nice that he came in. Depending on how many games Stace will get, I’m sure he’s going to do tremendous job.

“We’ve got a massive squad, we’ve got 27, 28 players which is I think really important for this football club.

“We’ve got two 11 teams, so any injuries, or anyone gets suspended, the other one comes in and they’ve been doing a brilliant job.

“We’ve been playing the ressie games and the Checkatrade Trophy, so they’re still having games as it’s a big competition.

“For League Two, having 28 players is great.”

On his side’s performance at Forest Green, which saw Luton increase their lead at the top to two points from nearest rivals Notts County, Stech added: “We’re absolutely buzzing with three points and a clean sheet, that’s what we came here, that’s what we wanted from the game.

“It’s been a really difficult game, especially the first 15-20 minutes. We didn’t play as we wanted to, we didn’t move the ball quick enough.

“I think it was vital scoring from the set-piece before half time and I think that decided the game.

“Second half we came in and we pretty much dominated the game and then Stace getting sent off, is it a red card?

“I can’t tell you, it’s the referee’s decision. That put us under some pressure, but we deal with it, got three points and we’re still top of the league.”