Arsenal loanee Lokonga has never witnessed the kind of 'dream' support on show from Luton's fans

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Midfielder hails Town’s followers for their efforts this season

Luton’s on-loan Arsenal midfielder Sambi Lokonga declared he has never seen a level of support that he had only previously dreamed of experiencing from the Hatters fans this term.

The 24-year-old has been at some pretty big clubs during his career to date as well, starting out at Belgian giants Anderlecht in 2017, spending four years in his home country, before heading to the bright lights of the Premier League and joining Arsenal for £17.2m in 2021. He had a temporary spell at Crystal Palace last term as well, also appearing for Belgium at U17 to U21 level, with a first senior cap won in September 2021.

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However, it was his loan move to Kenilworth Road in September which appears to have opened his opened his eyes to just what an unwavering level of support looks like, the Hatters having been backed superbly at every single ground up and down the country, given standing ovations at the full time whistle no matter the outcome.

Sambi Lokonga celebrates his first ever goal for Luton at West Ham on Saturday - pic: Liam SmithSambi Lokonga celebrates his first ever goal for Luton at West Ham on Saturday - pic: Liam Smith
Sambi Lokonga celebrates his first ever goal for Luton at West Ham on Saturday - pic: Liam Smith

Lokonga has been a huge hit with Luton fans too in his 18 appearances, which could have been more, but for two hamstring injuries, as unfortunately just when he was hitting top form, had to go off at half time when Town were leading 1-0 at Liverpool, only to lose 4-1, and miss the next nine matches, a second lengthy lay-off.

His absence coincided with the severe downturn in form that eventually saw Luton unable to climb out of the bottom three, with their year-long stint in the top flight ended when beaten 3-1 by West Ham yesterday. It wasn’t for the want of trying from Town or their on-loan Gunner either, the midfielder on target for the first time since at Anderlecht in April 2021, arriving perfectly on cue to plant his diving header from Alfie Doughty’s cross into the net with just six minutes gone and breathe hope into the visitors’ attempts at taking the relegation battle down to the final day.

Unfortunately for Rob Edwards’ side, they once more couldn’t hold on to their half time advantage, the Hammers hitting back with three goals in the second period to secure victory and ultimately send Luton down. The full time whistle saw the Hatters once more cheered to the rafters by the 3,000 supporters who had made the trip to the London Stadium, doing the best to lift the spirits of their player and a clearly crestfallen manager too.

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Writing on Instagram afterwards, Lokonga, who has one more game left of his spell in Bedfordshire, at home to Fulham next weekend, said: “I never seen this kind of support in my life, through thick and thin … Every players dream of that ! I am just grateful to you all for that, see you on Sunday for the last fight.”

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