Cranie: Tough start to the Championship could work in Town's favour

Martin Cranie in action for the Hatters on Saturday
Martin Cranie in action for the Hatters on Saturday

New signing Martin Cranie believes Luton’s incredibly tough start to the season could work in their favour.

The Hatters begin life in the Championship against a trio of ex-Premier League sides, at home to Middlesbrough on Friday night, before travelling to Cardiff City and then entertaining West Bromwich Albion.

Cranie, who joined Town after leaving Sheffield United in the summer, said: “It’s the big teams straight away, but it could be a good time to play them.

“The start of the season, when they’ve got new faces in, they’re still themselves trying to get things together, same as us, so it could be that we’ve caught them at the right time.

“Realistically, you’re expecting those teams to be fighting for promotion, but it’s down to us and what we do.

“They’ve come up two years in a row, I think it’s quite a big step up to the Championship.

"The boys are used to winning, week in week out, we might got through a sticky patch at some stage in the season, when the lads are thinking, 'what’s going on? We’re not winning.

"But it’s one of them, this league’s tough, there’s no game given to you in this league.

"We’ll have to be at our best week in week out, so if I can help a few of the younger boys along the way so we don’t get too downhearted when we do get beat, then I’ll be happy.

After a season in which the Hatters only lost six games on their way to the League One title, Cranie has warned supporters not to get too concerned when it won’t be that way in the Championship.

He said: “It’s a very hard league, especially when you get teams coming down from the Premiership and some of them not going back up, it just adds bigger teams to the league.

“So there’s going to be some very hard games.

“We’re not going to win every week, no-one does, but if we give 100 per cent every week, we’ll get the right results as there’s a good group of players here.

“The supporters might have to get used to we’re not going to win every week as it’s just not how it works, but I’m sure if we go out and we’re at it every week, then we’ll do better than worse.”

When asked just how he thought the Hatters could do in the season ahead, Cranie, who has played a number of years at this level, was quietly confident.

He said: “I think whoever turns up on the day will win the game.,

“It’s more about hard work, it’s not about the names and how much money people have spent.

“I was at Sheffield United and Huddersfield, they didn’t spend at all, we just have a good group of hard-working players who wanted to work for each other and win games, and ultimately that’s what we did in the end.

“It seems like the lads here have got the same sort of spirit, so if we take that in week in week out, we’ll do well.

“Ryan’s (Tunnicliffe) here, Callum’s (McManaman) here, we’ve got Brendan (Galloway) in, they have all got Championship experience, so they know what the league’s like.

“I think the lads will grasp it quite quickly though.

“It’s a tough league, League One’s a tough league, there maybe a bit more quality in the Championship, but at the end of the day it’s still football, you’ve still got to do the same things and I’m sure this group of lads will be willing to do it.”

Although not expecting to replicate the kind of success he has just experienced with Sheffield United, the Blades winning promotion to the Premier League, Cranie wasn’t just looking at battling against relegation either.

He said: “If you look at teams that have come up, Sheffield United did it, Bournemouth did it, Southampton did it, they started in League One, and came up, it maybe took a season to get used to things and then they pushed on the season after.

“I think the manager (Graeme Jones) is quite ambitious here, the lads are ambitious otherwise they wouldn’t have done what they did the last two years, so I think everyone’s in the right mind-frame to do well this season.

“With the new manager in, everyone’s wanting to impress as well.

“There’s a spring in everyone’s step, everyone’s training hard, so I think a clean slate for everyone to get going.”

After conceding just 44 goals last season as well, the Cranie is targeting another miserly campaign ahead, adding: “As defenders, that’s the main objective in the game, keep a clean sheet and you’re not going to lose the game.

“If the boys here can score the goals, we do our job at the other end, we’ll get more positive results than not.”