Burke happy with the way he handled the situation after replacing Lockyer so early on against Coventry

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Defender impresses off the bench in play-off final

Town defender Reece Burke felt he handled the situation as best as he could when coming on so early against Coventry City after team-mate Tom Lockyer had collapsed during the opening 10 minutes of the play-off final yesterday.

With Luton’s stand-out defender, and part of the Championship Team of the Year, stretchered off early and taken straight to hospital, Burke was called upon to play on the right of the back three, Gabe Osho switching to the middle, with Amari’i Bell remaining on the left.

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Despite his lack of football in recent weeks due to injury, the 26-year-old went on to produce a terrific display, winning six aerial battles, plus making three tackles, two interceptions and crucially blocking one shot too.

Speaking to Sky Sports afterwards, the former West Ham was happy with his efforts during a maiden outing at Wembley, although was also quick to state the victory was achieved for the hugely popular Lockyer.

He said: “I only found out what happened after the game, I know he's in hospital so I hope he recovers well.

"It's not nice to see, he’s a team-mate, he’s been brilliant all season and when I went on the gaffer said ‘make sure you do it for him.’

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"He said that at half-time to the lads as well, so our thoughts are with Tom at the moment.

Reece Burke makes a clearance against CoventryReece Burke makes a clearance against Coventry
Reece Burke makes a clearance against Coventry

"It’s a difficult situation for me to come on, obviously so early, but I felt like I handled the situation very well and I enjoyed it, that was the main thing.

"I’ve never played here before, so the main thing for me was to just enjoy it.

"It was all for him to be fair, I hope he’s all right.

"It’s difficult for the lads to find out after the game, everyone’s a little bit upset, but hopefully he recovers well and he’s been brilliant all season, he’s really led us here.”

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Discussing the fact that Luton are now in the Premier League next term, Burke added: "I still can't believe it, we were unlucky last year, but this year we’ve been incredible.

"We’ve proved what a good team we are throughout the whole season and we’ve deserved it.

"Fair play to the manager and the fans, everyone had belief in us and it just fed through the team, but I’m delighted, really, really over the moon.”