Buckle admits to interest in his players

PHILOSOPHICAL Hatters boss Paul Buckle has admitted that several clubs have been expressing an interest in Town’s stars, writes Mark Wood.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 14th June 2012, 1:00 pm

A number of Luton’s players including the likes of Jake Howells, Robbie Willmott and Godfrey Poku are out of contract and yet to pen new deals.

Buckle said: “We’ve had some interest. Sometimes that interest in them is started by the agent and the player. I’m not too worried.

“It comes down to how much that player wants to stay at Luton. I have a number of players that want to come to this club. There’s the odd few we’ve offered contracts to and nothing is signed or sealed yet.

“Players get a month to make their minds up on any offer.

“I’m always reluctant to give anything away until there’s something concrete. I’m not afraid if someone doesn’t sign on as long as it doesn’t hurt the club. I’m very, very mindful not to threaten the club on the finance side of it.

“If someone wants to leave Luton Town I certainly won’t be standing in their way.”

And while a number of players have been released by Luton, the likes of Curtis Osano and Keith Keane have chosen of their own volition to play elsewhere.

On Town stalwart Keane, who signed for League One Preston last week, Buckle said: “I’m a realist in many ways. Players do move on. Keith has been a fantastic servant to the club no doubt about that. We had a good honest chat.

“There were a couple of things. It was a League One club and a new challenge.

“He has been at the club a long time and it’s a fresh challenge and we can’t begrudge him that.

“It’s about filling the shirt, either someone in-house or someone new.

“I’ve got a target list of players. I don’t get bogged down with it.

“I’m very clear on the type of person and players I want to bring to the club.

“I’m certainly not going to rush into it.”

And bullish Buckle was keen to make it clear that Osano chose to move to AFC Wimbledon over staying at Luton after the right-back claimed in our sister paper the Luton News / Dunstable Gazette yesterday that he hadn’t received a firm offer from the club.

He said: “It’s laughable. I spoke to my player Curtis Osano and asked him what he wanted before any interest from AFC Wimbledon.

“I said to Curtis if I could get you X would you sign it, he said yes. He was offered what he told me he wanted.

“In the meantime his name was given to AFC Wimbldeon.

“I then got a courtesy call back from Stuart Cash a few days later saying that we’ve agreed with the boy.

“I then spoke to Kevin Nicholls who has obviously got Godfrey Poku as well.

“Curtis rang me to say he wanted to speak to me. But the deal was already done. At the end of the day the boy chose AFC Wimbledon.

“I think I improved him, I’m not scared of saying that. He admitted that.

“But he felt he wanted to take the opportunity in the League.”