Harford overjoyed Luton players heeded his warning at Shrews

Town celebrate James Collins' making it 3-0 at Shrewsbury on Saturday
Town celebrate James Collins' making it 3-0 at Shrewsbury on Saturday

Luton interim boss Mick Harford admitted had specifically warned his players not to let all their good work against Portsmouth go to waste during the 3-0 win at Shrewsbury on Saturday.

After Town produced a magnificent display at a snowy Kenilworth Road to defeat their closest rivals 3-2 to move clear at the top, Harford knew it was critical they backed that up in Shropshire.

James Collins’ double and Matty Pearson’s strike ensured that, as Harford said: “We did mark the players cards and say ‘do not let this slip from what you’ve done in the last month, you’ve worked so hard over 30 games to get yourselves to the top of the table.’

“We’re ahead of most clubs in terms of stats, shots, goals, possession, clean sheets, and we earmarked that and said ‘don’t let it slip, you’ve got yourselves in a fantastic position after a really hard month.’

“It was a tough game, especially after the adulation they got for the first half performance against Portsmouth and beating Portsmouth.

“This was a real, real tricky game for us and Shrewsbury definitely made it hard for us, especially in the first half.

“We weren’t at our best, but it was a real good professional performance.”

Striker Collins himself confirmed the players had taken those warnings on board.

He continued: “We knew our jobs, we knew we wanted to back that result up on Tuesday. We knew people would think, ‘oh, they’ve beaten Portsmouth, they might be a bit off it,’ but not this team.

“We know what we need to do, we know we all want to win games and the aim is to get promoted.

“The more games you win, the quicker that will be. We know nothing’s done yet, as I keep saying, there’s 15 games to go and we’re doing okay.

"Yes, we look at the results as I think everyone does.

"We know if we keep winning games, we’ll be okay, but if people slip up as well, then it obviously always helps.

“But we know whoever’s slipping up now, there’s still 15 games to go, other teams can pick up points, so we just keep looking after our own job."

Defender Matty Pearson was another who knew how crucial picking up three points on the road was, especially against a side who are battling to stay in the division this term.

He added: "It’s getting better isn’t it? Especially away from home as well, that’s where the wins are vital, I think that’s going to define our season.

“They came to do a job on us, they played a way we hadn’t played against, they had two willing runners upfront and we had to keep tabs with that.

"It was difficult, especially first 20 minutes, trying to get to grips with the pitch, it is bobbly, but then we just had to grow into it, had to adapt.

"Once we started playing, sucking them out, you could see a couple of times from the goalkeeper, we played right through them and we ended up creating a chance.

"That’s what we’re about, bravery and trusting each other on the ball.

“They wanted to get those channel balls in, tried to get us stretched and we had to deal with that and we did.

"They had a couple of half chances, but thankfully, once we got the goal and the second goal, we started playing free-flowing football.

"These are the games where they are the tough games.

"No disrespect, but they’re fighting down there now. Those teams that are fighting are doing everything to spoil your party and we can’t let that affect us."