Ex-Hatter Chris Coyne felt Luton were just starting to look a real Championship outfit before coronavirus pandemic

Former Town centre half impressed with striker James Collins

By Mike Simmonds
Saturday, 9th May 2020, 8:44 am
Updated Saturday, 9th May 2020, 9:28 am
Ex-Hatter Chris Coyne in action for the club
Ex-Hatter Chris Coyne in action for the club

Former Luton defender Chris Coyne believes his old side were just beginning to look at home in the Championship before the season was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic two months ago.

Since the end of January, the Hatters, who had not won for eight league games prior, taking one point from 24, saw their fortunes pick up quite dramatically.

After beating Derby 3-2, they won four from nine outings, picking up two draws as well, to move from a position of looking dead and buried, to just six points from safety.

Coyne, who played 252 times for the club between 2001 and 2008, scoring 16 goals, said: “If you look after Christmas when they went on that run, they just looked a different team.

“When they had a few injuries, their bodies looked a bit lethargic and then all of a sudden they got to the pace of the Championship and looked used to it.

"I think they’re not too far off and having seen them early on in the year and at the end, I think they were starting to look like a real Championship outfit.

“Hopefully they have all kept themselves fit and in good nick, have done the right thing and if they can push on, they’ll give themselves every chance of staying in the league.”

When asked if any of Town’s current crop have caught his eye, Coyne added: “There’s some good players in there, you look at Collo (James Collins), he’s got a lot, leader of the line, big, strong body, big personality, he reminds me of Stevie Howard.

“I think big (Sonny) Bradley’s got a bit about him as well, he’s a leader, imposing, leads that back-line well.

“I just think they’re probably lacking slightly, they probably need a couple of players.

“When Izzy Brown came in, on his day he’s fantastic, but it’s on his day.

“He’s got to be more consistent in my opinion and it’s hard, but I like players who are on it week in week out.”

"When he’s on it the boys look a better team, but there’s some good players in there, you don’t get to that level otherwise."

Like many, Coyne knew the departure of both full backs, James Justin and Jack Stacey to the Premier League in the summer was a bitter blow for the Hatters going into the season.

He said: "Losing JJ didn’t help, you get that quality and then you’ve got to replace it, but that unfortunately is Luton’s M.O.

"They’ve been so good at developing these young boys, but when someone comes knocking with the sort of money they have, how do you turn your nose up at it?

"You don’t want to hold the boys back and they always do the right thing at the right time, find the right price for the player and the club, which is a really good business model."