Bradley: There's nothing to fear from second leg play-off decider at Huddersfield

Centre half in confident mood going to the John Smith’s Stadium

By Mike Simmonds
Monday, 16th May 2022, 10:38 am

Luton defender Sonny Bradley insists his his side can play without any fear during their Championship semi-final play-off second leg clash at Huddersfield Town this evening following their first leg performance on Friday night.

The Hatters head to the John Smith’s Stadium with the scores locked at 1-1 following the opening 90 minutes at at Kenilworth Road, Bradley himself on target on the half hour, replying to Danel Sinani’s early opener.

It came in a first period that the hosts enjoyed the better of the chances, James Bree with a shot tipped over, while Cameron Jerome’s curling effort was narrowly over and Henri Lansbury’s attempt charged down.

Sonny Bradley gets up to head clear against Huddersfield

Although the visitors dominated possession after the break, they didn’t really test home keeper Matt Ingram, a Lewis O’Brien drive that Reece Burke the closest they came.

With that in mind, when asked if he his side could finish the job off in Yorkshire, Bradley said: “For me it’s a question of why not?

“We’ve proven, even tonight if you go back and watch that first half, if we go up there and play in that manner, play on the front foot, on a different day, we go in to the first half three, maybe four one up, if those chances go our way.

“So when we see that and when we look back at the footage of what happened, we look at that and think there’s actually nothing to fear at all.

"There’s no reason for us, why can’t we go up there and do exactly the same and go and hunt that win?

"It’s a case of having no fear, going out there expressing yourself and doing your best for the club.

“Like the manager just said, if we can’t win, don’t lose it.

"They’ll certainly feel like it’s in their hands a little bit going back to their ground but we believe in ourselves, we’re backing ourselves and we’re one win away from a trip to the national stadium.”

Bradley did feel that the eventual outcome was probably the fair result on the evening though, continuing: “I think it is about right.

"In the first half, they scored the first goal, we fell into the trap a little bit, we knew what they wanted to do, us to play the ball inside and to nick it and then they counter on us, we fell right into the trip.

"What we did though, we reacted really well, arguably we could have had a penalty through Cameron Jerome, but we get the goal and we have a couple of chances.

“Cam’s had another shot as well, we could have gone two, three one up at half time,

"Second half, although they’ve had a lot of the ball, which they have, they've controlled the game a little bit, but they haven’t had a great deal of chances.

"I don’t think Matt’s had too many saves to make, if any, so a very competitive game.

"They’ve finished third in the league for a reason, we’re well aware that they are a very good team and think 1-1 was a fair result.”

Luton went down to a 2-0 defeat in the league when they headed to the Terriers just over a month ago, but they were in the game for long periods, Jon Russell’s lob into the top corner after an hour putting the hosts ahead, the goal coming just seconds after the visitors were forced into a defensive reshuffle due to injury.

Top scorer Elijah Adebayo then missed from the penalty spot as the Hatters conceded a second in stoppage time to an unmarked Naby Sarr’s header, but Bradley feels lessons will be learned this time.

He continued: “You look at the fixture down at their place a couple of months ago, there wasn’t too much in it.

"It looks like we’ve been dominated losing 2-0, but it’s a sloppy goal to concede and I’m sure we won’t do that again.

"We should maybe equalise with the penalty and then it’s a completely different game if that goes in, we have the momentum, and it just shows how quickly the dynamic of a game can change.

"We certainly go there full of confidence, nothing to fear, we leave it up to the manager now and the staff to put a plan together and we have full trust that they’ll set us up in a way to go and win the game.”

The skipper also has good memories of playing their Terriers on their own patch having headed home the opening goal when Luton picked up a crucial 2-0 victory in the 2019-20 season, as both sides were at the wrong end of the table, the Hatters eventually going on to stay up on the final day.

Although only a few players from that encounter will be on display this evening, Bradley added: “It was a set-piece, corner comes in, and I head it home from about six yards and that set us up to go and win the game and go and keep a clean sheet.

"For me, it’s a little bit irrelevant now, maybe there’s one or two of their players who played that game, if any, so they’ve got a different team now and playing in a different structure.

"They’re a lot better now, but if I can get another goal, it would be great, with the Sky cameras there again.

"What matters most is winning this fixture and I feel very confident we can go there and win that game.”