Edwards thrilled to see Hatters' 'life and soul' Mpanzu at the double for Luton

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Midfielder bags a brace during Tangerines victory

Luton boss Rob Edwards was elated to see Town’s ‘life and soul’ Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu grab two excellent goals during yesterday’s 3-1 victory over Blackpool.

With the Hatters struggling to get going against a side who look destined for League One football next term, they appeared to be going into half time with a 1-0 deficit after falling behind on 28 minutes.

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However, they were all square when Cody Drameh’s free kick was headed back to Mpanzu by Carlton Morris, the midfielder curling a measured low finish past keeper Chris Maxwell and into the bottom corner.

After the break, and with Morris having made it 2-1 on 72 minutes, Luton had a vital third goal just moments later, Mpanzu smashing into the roof of the net with unerring accuracy after being picked out by sub Cauley Woodrow.

The double was just Mpanzu’s second of his Luton career which now spans 362 appearances, as he is the only player who is still at Kenilworth Road since the club experienced the dark days of the Conference.

Speaking afterwards, Edwards said: “He epitomises everything that the club stands for.

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“He’s the life and soul around the place, around the training ground.

Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu enjoys his second goal during yesterday's win over BlackpoolPelly-Ruddock Mpanzu enjoys his second goal during yesterday's win over Blackpool
Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu enjoys his second goal during yesterday's win over Blackpool

"If we’ve had a defeat, or if we’ve had a win, he doesn’t change and you need people like that as if you get too high or too low in football, it’s not a good place to be.

"He’s brilliant off the pitch and since we’ve come in, I can’t speak highly enough of him on the pitch as well, he’s a really important player for us.”

With Mpanzu’s first goal unlike his usual efforts, going for placement rather than power, the midfielder showed he has lost none of his customary ferocity when lashing home a marvellous second.

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On both efforts, Edwards continued: “Two great finishes, I thought his goals were brilliant.

"We want the eights to be chipping in with those goals and two really important ones today.

“The second one, even though it went in with a lot of power, it was a real concentrated sidefoot finish.

"It was a real good contact, so two great finishes, different types of goals.

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"The first one, he found the corner of the side-net really well.

"It was the only place it could have gone in with all the bodies that were in the way and the second one was a lovely finish.

"I don’t know which one I enjoyed more, that first goal was a real important one, the equaliser and the timing of it.

"Then to get a two-goal cushion in a game like that was great for him, so I’m really pleased with him.”

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With the goals just his second and third of the season, Edwards has now tasked Mpanzu and the rest of his team-mates to chip in with more during the final five games of the campaign and help ease the burden off striking duo Morris and Elijah Adebayo.

He added: “He’ll probably say as well he could have a couple more, so we’ll keep demanding and chipping away at him to get in those areas.

"They were two really calm, expertly taken goals weren’t they and probably not like someone who’s only got the one this season.

"All three of his goals have been terrific and we want to push him to try to get more.

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"We don’t just want the front two to be scoring, we want the goals to come from everywhere, and it’s a really important job for those midfielders, those eights especially, in front of Marv (Nakamba) to go and release and get on the end of things, like his second goal.

"We want to try and keep him, Al (Allan Campbell), whoever, getting more.”