Edwards thrilled to see Town keeper Shea make his comeback against Reading

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Stopper gets a first run-out since April 2022

Luton boss Rob Edwards was thrilled to see keeper James Shea make his comeback for the Hatters after almost a year out this week.

The 31-year-old suffered a serious knee injury after a horrific clash with his own defender Tom Lockyer during Town’s 1-0 win at Cardiff in April 2020.

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A lengthy period of rehabilitation for the former Arsenal youngster followed, before Shea was able to return to the bench for the Hatters in the Championship earlier this month to provide cover for Ethan Horvath.

James Shea is back for the HattersJames Shea is back for the Hatters
James Shea is back for the Hatters

However, he still hadn’t played in any kind of meaningful game until Tuesday afternoon, when he was part of the U21s squad for their goalless draw against Reading U21s.

After he got through the 90 minutes unscathed, Edwards said: “I’m really pleased for him, really, really pleased for him.

“He was delighted, kept a clean sheet, which is nice, but to get through the 90 minutes is the most important thing for him.

“He’s wanted to tick that box off, so a real, real plus.

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“Big credit to him for his hard work over the last nine months or however long it's been now, and the medical team and everyone associated with his rehabilitation, the surgeon and everyone because it’s a tough one.

“Everyone's worked really, really hard to get him back and of course he has as well.

"He’s put the time in and it’s great to have him back with us and he’ll benefit from that game in midweek.”

Edwards also thinks completing the game will be a real boost for the keeper, who has played 106 times and won two promotions for the Hatters since arriving in July 2017.

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He added: “I think it is, he’s trained really well and he’s looked good in the training, looked sharp, but the training can never fully replicate how you feel.

“The next one for him will be when he gets that opportunity in a first team game and it's a little bit different again.

“The buzz, the nerves, the crowd and all those other things.

"You need those games as players when you've been out a long long time to just feel that, ‘I’m back, I’m back now.’”