Extra substitutes during Championship run-in won’t change Luton winger’s mindset

McManaman always looking to have an impact when called upon

By Mike Simmonds
Thursday, 25th June 2020, 9:40 am
Updated Thursday, 25th June 2020, 9:42 am
Callum McManaman wheels away after scoring his equaliser on Saturday
Callum McManaman wheels away after scoring his equaliser on Saturday

Having the use of five substitutes for the Championship run-in won’t make any difference to winger Callum McManaman’s mentality if he is back on the bench for Saturday’s trip to Swansea City.

The 29-year-old came on to brilliant effect at the weekend, scoring an excellent equaliser as Luton salvaged a late point from their first match back since the season was postponed due to the coronavirus with a 1-1 draw against Preston North End.

The rules for the final nine fixtures have changed from beforehand, allowing teams to select a match-day squad of 20, with nine substitutes and the ability to bring on five of them.

However, when asked whether that changed the mindset of those off the pitch knowing that more can now be called upon, McManaman said: “Maybe some people, but when I’m on the bench I usually always get on.

“So I’m always in the same mindset to come on and have an impact on the game.

“I always think if I come on, ‘make sure you do something,’ so I’m always constantly thinking about making an impact when I come on, so it’s the same for me.”

When McManaman was introduced, his impact was fairly swift, taking just 10 minutes to collect fellow replacement James Bree’s pass and then hammer his shot past Lilywhites keeper Declan Rudd.

The Merseysider didn’t think it was going to happen at one point, saying: “To be honest, I felt like the game was kind of getting slower and slower and I knew we needed to get a shot on goal.

“I was just thinking about getting a yard and trying to get a shot off.

“It felt like it was just going to finish 1-0, the tempo had gone down and I’m just glad that it happened.

“We nearly won it with Tunny’s (Ryan Tunnicliffe) effort, but we would have been a bit lucky to win that, so we’ll take the point in the end.

“It was a good pass, I was confident before I was going to come on and change the game.

“I’ve done it a few times this season and I’ve been training well, the gaffer’s been impressed with me.

“I’ve spoken to him, I’ve been feeling confident and sharp, so I was quietly confident I was going to do something when I came on.

“As it went on, I was thinking ‘I might not even get the ball here,’ as it was up and down and the game was a bit dead, but thankfully I got the shot off.

“We were poor in parts, so we’ll take that.

"I think Preston will be disappointed they haven't won the game, so I feel like it is a positive point.

"We know it's the first game, we can play better than that, we know we can, so we'll take that. move on and get fitter and stronger and more confident for it."

Once the goal whistled into the net, McManaman set off to celebrate in front of the cut-outs of Luton fans, with no supporters allowed inside stadiums at the moment.

He admitted it was an odd experience, adding: “It was strange, it didn’t feel as good when the ball hit the back of the net but I think it was a massive point in the end and I’m glad that I came on and did that to help the team.

“I didn’t really know what to do, but as I say, it was a good point in the end and we have to take it."