Ex-Hatter Liam George thinks Luton Town can win if they 'take a risk' at Royals
Former Luton attacker Liam George believes the Hatters can pick up a valuable result at Reading this afternoon if they are prepared to 'take a bit of a risk' at the Madejski Stadium.
Town head to Berkshire on the back of three straight league defeats, and without a victory at the Royals since George netted the winner in a 2-1 success way back in August 1999.
The hosts have just started to hit some form after a poor start to the campaign with two wins from three under new boss Mark Bowen, but George was confident about his old club’s chances.
He said: “Reading are a really funny club. They’re not that well supported, I mean the ground is fantastic but it never gets full.
“So I would be more fearful of coming to Kenilworth Road from an atmosphere and a hostility point of view, than I ever would going to Reading.
“It’s a big, beautiful pitch, it’s a lovely stadium, it’s a bit like going to MK Dons.
"So I think the one thing that Luton won’t feel is pressurised by the crowd or that 12th man as people like to put it.
"I think they can go there and play.
"Reading haven’t had a great turn of form, but the Championship is one of those leagues where form can go out the window, it really can.
"Even me as a betting man, you put an accumulator on, you think that’s a banker, and all of a sudden you’re going ‘how have they lost that?’
"Or ‘Barnsley getting a result there?’ It’s absolutely crazy.
"It’s a great pitch to play on, the crowd won’t get on their back too much, so they won’t feel that presence there.
“I think it will be one of them they can go and enjoy, it’s that first 20 minutes and who can get a little bit of momentum, where the other one might capitulate a bit.
"It’s just about capitalising on your early chances and who knows what can happen.
“I certainly think they can go there and win.
"You’ve got to go into every game thinking like that, whether you’re at the Madejski or whether you’re going to the Riverside.
"We’re in the league because we deserve to be.
"Let’s roll our sleeves up, let’s take a bit of a risk and let’s see what happens.”
Meanwhile, if Town do stay in the Championship, then George believes boss Graeme Jones deserves serious accolades come May.
He continued: "Losing the two full backs (James Justin and Jack Stacey) who are obviously Premier League quality is going to upset any team.
"I think that has had a massive, massive effect on the club, but they have to go on to bigger and better things,.
"My expectations are, I think everyone has just got to live this season and take it as a bonus.
"We’re not a Championship club yet, we can't live and match the revenue that a Nottingham Forest or a Reading get.
"If Luton can finish fourth from bottom and stay up, they’ve done absolutely amazingly well.
"If they can nick four points in a month and win one at home, maybe draw one away, they’ll be doing very, very well, that’s how I view it.
"If not I’ll support them to the hilt, enjoy it, I won’t ever call for a manager or players to be sacked.
"As if they’re not good enough, it’s not because they’re not trying, it’s because it’s probably a level a little bit too high for them right now.
“If they stay up, they’ll have done unbelievably well and I think Graeme Jones should get manager of the year to keep that side up, I really do.”
George, who went to Cardinal Newman High School before going on to play 124 times for the Hatters, scoring 25 goals in the process, still gets over to Kenilworth Road to watch the Town.
On the current players that stick out for him, he said: "I like Callum McManaman, I think he’s a player that changes a game, although we're a struggling team at the moment and if we were a little bit more confident, he would do a lot better.
"(James) Collins is industrious, I think all the players are doing amazingly well, I really do.
"Pelly Ruddock looks powerful, he still needs to be developed a little bit more in his final pass and maybe his playing simple could improve, but he’s always looked quite good in the last couple of seasons I’ve watched him.
"I know Sheasy (James Shea) the goalie really well. He’s been patient and been a fantastic professional, although he had a great season last year, he’s back in now."
Although Town go into this weekend's game on the back of a poor run of form, losing four out of five, George won't have at that there is any lack of desire amongst the squad to stay in the Championship.
He added: "It’s very easy to forget when we’re losing 2-1 on a rainy day at Kenilworth Road and people are saying 'they’re not motivated, they’ve got no passion' and stuff like that.
"I don’t think it’s that, I think we’re in transition, we’re learning.
"He’s (Graeme Jones) cutting his teeth and football is a very difficult game.
"No-one ever wants to lose, ever. I try to put that into fans, every time I walked out on Kenilworth Road, sometimes I was like a deer in headlights, because I didn’t know what to do and that’s what happens, but I never want to lose.
"Sometimes I wouldn’t know how to affect the game, as I’d run around, I haven’t got the ball and it looks like I’m almost drifting and I’m not, I’m standing there thinking, 'how do I get into this game and get some touches?'
"So no-one wants to lose and those lads will do the best they can.
"We just need to be a bit patient, as I don’t want us to spiral.
"I don’t want us to have such a bad season that everyone turns against each other, and for that to carry on into next season and all of a sudden you’re a mid-League One team, or a lower half, as it can quite easily happen."