Defensive competition is key for Hatters’ promotion push

Magnus Okuonghae
Magnus Okuonghae

Competition for places in central defence is going to be key for a promotion push this season, according to boss John Still.

Last campaign, Hatters struggled badly when both Steve McNulty and Luke Wilkinson were injured or suspended as Fraser Franks and Alex Lacey failed to fill the void.

The pair have since been transfer-listed, as Still has gone some way to rectify those short-comings this year with the additions of Scott Cuthbert, Magnus Okuonghae and Mark O’Brien from Leyton Orient, Colchester United and Derby County respectively.

Speaking about his new arrivals, Still said: “Last year when we lost players through injury, and we lost quite a few, the ones who came in, which is no disrespect to them, they weren’t quite up to it if I’m being honest.

“In fairness to Lacey and Fraser, if one of them had come in with one of the others, we think it would have been okay.

“But the two of them coming in together, they weren’t quite what we needed to get promotion.

“We’ve now strengthened that and all five of those centre halves would look at the start of this season and instead of saying ‘I’m going to play’, they’re probably saying to themselves, ‘am I going to play?’”