Changes will be made but Hatters expect to test Gills

Hatters' management staff
Hatters' management staff

Hatters first team coach Hakan Hayrettin admitted changes could well be made for tomorrow’s Johnstone’s Paint Trophy second round tie at League One Gillingham, but whatever team is selected, has every chance of progressing.

Rules state that sides have to pick either six players who started their previous fixture or six who will start the following game and speaking to the press this afternoon, Hayrettin said: “The gaffer’s having a look at it to see what he can come up with.

“We know the rules, so he’s got to make his mind up nearer the time.

“He wants to get the balance right, put a strong team out and has always said he believes in his squad and whatever team he puts out, it’s going to be his first team.

“We haven’t got a reserve team here, it’s one squad, which is the first team one. So he’ll choose it wisely in consideration for the game to come.

“We actually believe whoever we’re playing against we can win. The staff have drummed that into the players, the gaffer is at the forefront of that and he leads that. He makes everyone believe that whoever we play we can beat them and whatever 11 he puts out are capable of beating any team, so it will be a good game.”

One player who isn’t likely to feature is striker Craig Mackail-Smith though, after he came off against Hartlepool at the weekend.

Hayrettin continued: “We’re not too sure the extent of that is until he’s assessed properly and I think he’s going to be assessed today.

“I don’t think it was as bad as what we thought it was, it was more of a precaution for him. He decided it was the right thing to do to come off instead of making it worse. So a good call by him, good judgement to do it the right way.

“I don’t think there’s anything major though, everyone’s fit and raring to go.”

It could be that Elliot Justham gets his chance in goal ahead of Mark Tyler though as Hayrettin said: “It’s maybe possible. I think Kevin Dearden is going to have a chat with the gaffer on that and see what way we lean to.

“But I’m sure whatever it is will be the right decision for the team.”

Meanwhile, boss John Still last week revealed that both Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu and Magnus Okuonghae were likely to start, although there is a Final Third Development clash at Southend earlier in the day.

Hayrettin added: “The gaffer will make his mind up nearer the time. We’ve got another game in the morning at Southend, so it could be possible they’ll both be playing in that game, or could be possible they’ll both be playing at Gillingham.

“It’s all about making sure that we keep ticking over and getting everyone as many minutes as they can.

“The ruling is what it is, we believe whatever team we put out is going to be strong from our point of view.”