Gleeson misses out for Town

LUTON Town manager Richard Money will have to make a change to his watertight defence for tomorrow’s Blue Square Bet Premier clash with Gateshead at Kenilworth Road, with right-back Dan Gleeson missing out through injury, writes Mike Simmonds.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 21st January 2011, 6:39 pm

Town have not conceded in their previous five league matches, but Gleeson is unavailable after he was stretchered off during Tuesday night’s 5-0 tonking of York City.

Thankfully, the injury doesn’t appear to be too serious and the former Cambridge United man could well be back before the month is out.

Money said: “Dan won’t be involved but hopefully he’ll be OK for Tuesday and if he’s not then he certainly will be for Darlington.

“It’s an impact injury, but there’s no damage either in terms of fracture or ligament.

“It’s just a case of when the soreness goes and when he’s able to run on it, he’ll be able to play. How quickly that happens I’m not sure though.

“We have (Alex) Lawless and Eddie (Asafu-Adjaye) who has been a major part of the football club.

“He’ll come into contention tomorrow. We have plenty of options of who can play right-back, so we’ll see.”

Striker Jason Walker may also miss out, as will attacker Amari Morgan-Smith, both who missed the game against York in midweek, while the news isn’t so good regarding Charlie Henry, who Money confirmed doesn’t look like he will play again this season.

The boss continued: “Amari is making slow progress, but again we don’t think it’s too serious.

“I think Jason could be part of it tomorrow, but because we’ve got good options at the minute it means we can work him hard this weekend away from the match action and get him ready for Tuesday.

“Charlie doesn’t look as though he’s going to play too much part this year, which is really sad for the boy.”

Competition for places at Kenilworth Road is as strong as it has been this season though, and that will help Hatters as they can afford to let their injured players recover fully.

Money said: “You lay down the gauntlet to other people and they either accept it or they don’t and Tai (Atieno) certainly has.

“It means that we don’t have to rush Jason back which I think is going to be crucial towards the end of the season.

“A number of them have niggles and strains and we have to be very careful as the pitches are so heavy.”

New striker Lloyd Owusu is poised for his second start for the Hatters, after marking his debut with a powerful headed goal on Tuesday night.

The manager said: “Lloyd trained with the group this morning. We gave him the option of laying on the bed and having a rest, but he wants to go and train.

“I think it’s the case of as we’ve got so many games in such a short space of time, we should wrap him in cotton wool a little bit and get him out on a match day, but he wanted to train which is a good sign.

“After Grimsby we’ve got a week where we could maybe get a little bit of work into him, after Darlington we’ve got about 10 days if we don’t include him in the Gloucester match.

“Hopefully by the time Fleetwood and Newport comes around he’ll be nearer to where he thinks he should be in terms of match fitness but if he gives us an hour like he did Tuesday night every game, we’ll be more than happy.”

There are now just 10 days of the transfer window remaining, but after signing the 34-year-old former Brentford and Yeovil forward last week, Money isn’t anticipating any more business in or out.

He said: “We’re not looking at anything at this moment in time.

“We would have gone without someone like Lloyd if we had to, but we’ve been looking for someone like him for a while.

“We just felt that with the pitches getting so heavy we might need a little bit more beef up there, a little bit more nous because our other strikers are still young.

“So that came along and we went for it, you never know what’s going to happen over the next 10 days, but we’re not actively looking.

“There appears to be lots of posturing going on, but nobody’s come to us with any sort of offer and long may it continue.”

Saturday’s opponents Gateshead emerged with a 1-0 victory over Hatters earlier in the season and with Crawley travelling to Grimsby Town and AFC Wimbledon hosting Southport at the weekend, Money acknowledges his side must continue their winning run.

He said: “We can’t afford to drop points against them twice.

“It’s the next game, it’s the most important game.

“They’ve won three in a row and taken some young players on loan from big clubs (James Tavernier and Joan Simun Edmundsson from Newcastle United along with Sunderland’s Michael Liddle).

“They need to be respected and we will do.

“In fairness to them they try and play - they play with two up top and two wingers, one offensive midfield player, so I think they’ll come and take the game to us.”

Town are by far the leading scorers at home in the division with 34 to their name, and Money is hoping they continue hit the net in front of their own fans.

He added: “We’ve got 50 goals in our first 25 games and the pleasing thing is we’ve got a number of players approaching double figures all over the pitch which means we’re not relying on one person.

“It means we play football in a way that gives lots of people opportunities to score goals, so that when one of them is not scoring you will hope that someone else is.

“We have good striking options both on and off the pitch which means we have good competition and that we can freshen it up if need be.”