Hatters boss reluctant to ditch formation

Craig Mackail-Smith is beaten to the ball by visiting keeper Aaron Chapman
Craig Mackail-Smith is beaten to the ball by visiting keeper Aaron Chapman

Hatters boss John Still is likely to persist with his 3-5-2 formation despite the 1-0 defeat against Bristol Rovers last night.

The Luton chief has now started with the system for the last three games and despite working well against Bristol City in the Capital One Cup, it looked increasingly disjointed yesterday evening.

“You have to give it a chance, so we have to give it a chance.”

John Still

Both Stephen O’Donnell and Scott Griffiths appeared very uneasy in their wingback roles as neither could provide any sort of telling final ball, leaving strikers Craig Mackail-Smith and Paul Benson forced to feed off scraps.

It meant Hatters failed to have a single shot on goal throughout the entire evening and Still’s reluctance to change is coming under growing criticism from supporters.

When asked about his tactics, the Luton chief said: “I can remember when the first year we went up, we started off with the 4-2-3-1 and people were moaning about, ‘we’re not doing this, not doing that’.

“You have to give it a chance, so we have to give it a chance. It’s the first time it’s not really worked to be honest as it wasn’t good enough.

“You keep working with them and working with them for the combinations. That’s why I didn’t change the team, I wanted to give them the opportunity to bed in.

“We’ve been really, really pleased with the three centre halves and they’ve all played well.

“If I looked at the team in the games we’ve had, that’s been the most consistent area, although it doesn’t make us the most consistent team.

“So you’re loathe to mess about when you have something that’s working.”

Surprisingly, summer signing Danny Green has been jettisoned from the squad completely after starting the opening fixture of the season at Accrington, with the winger’s delivery from the flanks a feature Town are crying out for.

Neither Alex Lawless or Luke Guttridge have featured at all so far either as when asked whether those players will come back into contention, Still continued: “Absolutely, it’s something we’ll look at and of course when we look at the DVD and look at the players we have, we’ll see if we can do anything else.

“In terms of players we’re okay, when you get new players in and a new system, you have to give it an opportunity.

“Our three centre halves have been terrific, so if you’ve got a good component, you work round the component.

“Now I’ll look at that, they were good the three of them, but other areas of the pitch we weren’t good enough.”

Skipper Steve McNulty didn’t feel it was an issue with the shape of the side either, as he added: “You can’t say the team that played, or in the last two league games weren’t good enough to go out and win the games.

“There’s enough talent in the team to win the game more thank comfortably, so there’s no excuses.

“We huffed and puffed all night, but didn’t create enough chances going forward. It was a lacklustre performance and we need to improve on it.”