Former Town midfielder Lawson D’Ath couldn’t hide a sense of frustration that his time with the Hatters hadn’t turned out differently.
The 25-year-old moved to Kenilworth Road from Northampton Town in January 2017, making 10 starts last season, including both play-off games as Luton were cruelly beaten by Blackpool over two legs.
It’s one of frustration really, because I feel like I could have added something to the team if I was fully fit and playing regularly.Lawson D’Ath
It looked like he was going to carry that run in the side on this term, down to play in the opening game against Yeovil, until injury struck in the final week of pre-season, leaving him sidelined.
He eventually got fit, but the form of Olly Lee and the team in general, meant he had to make do with a place on the bench, only to suffer further injury when back in the side against Cambridge in March, which ended his campaign.
Summing up his time with the club on his release last week, having made just 26 appearances, scoring once, D’Ath said: “It’s frustration, because I came in, I wasn’t in the team to begin with, then I got in the team and to be fair I thought I played pretty well at the back end of last season.
“Then two days before the season started and I was out for two months, so the lads got up and running by then, so it was like he’s (Nathan Jones) not going to change a winning team is he?
“It’s one of them, it’s part and parcel of being a footballer, it just happens, you have to be patient and if it comes it comes, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.
“It’s one of frustration really, because I feel like I could have added something to the team if I was fully fit and playing regularly.
“Mick Harford, said ‘you’ve been the unluckiest player this year,’ so it’s just one of those things, frustration I guess, but it’s football, I just move on.”
After featuring in the largely forgettable 4-0 defeat at Port Vale in December, D’Ath’s final start came in the 1-1 draw at Cambridge back on March 30, lasting just 20 minutes before suffering another injury.
He said: “(It was) My medial in the inside of my knee, the big lad Uche (Ikpeazu) came down on it and just forced it in.
“It’s not been right, even when I’ve been training towards the back end of the season, I’ll go to pass the ball and it will be a bit loose and then it will be sore.
“I couldn’t play a game and I was training at 50, 60 per cent, it’s just one of those injuries, really niggly and the timing of it wasn’t great.”
With that in mind, D’Ath knew that a new deal at Kenilworth Road was unlikely and when asked how his chat with Town boss Nathan Jones went, said: “It was half and half, it could happen, and with the gaffer he said, ‘look you’ve had a tough year with injuries, you haven’t played a lot of football because of it and this year, we’re stepping up a division and are going to be bringing in players, so you’re not going to be number one choice. Obviously anything can happen in the season, but I’m looking out for you, your best interest, if you have another year then it could harm you.’
“I think that was the case too as if I’d played even half the games this season, then it might have been a different story, but obviously, it was one of those things.
“Anything can happen in pre-season. If you do really well then you’re in the team, but to be fair to be him, he took into consideration this year, so he said, ‘you’re probably you’re better off going somewhere else and just playing football,’ so that was literally the conversation.”
Despite his departure, D’Ath was thrilled to have been a Hatter, adding: “Even before I signed for Luton, I loved playing at Kenilworth Road, so I loved every minute when I was there.
“I’ve made really good friends, the lads, the staff, the training ground, the facilities are unbelievable, everything about it.
“It was a good place to be, so it’s a shame, but it’s football.”