Hatters look to exorcise ‘Indian Sign’

INJURY-PLAGUED Luton Town will be looking to exorcise the ‘Indian Sign’ York City seem to have over them when they visit Kenilworth Road tomorrow, writes Mark Wood.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 17th January 2011, 2:31 pm

The game is covered in controversy following the wranglings over gate receipts and profits from the original encounter, which will see the Hatters split any profits with York on a cup tie basis.

Manager Richard money refused to get drawn on that issue, but is looking to put one over the Minsterman on the field after they crashed out to York in the play-off semi-finals last term.

He said: “At the moment they have a bit of an Indian Sign on us and it’s something we want to put right tomorrow.

“They’ve got a new manager which has given them fresh impetus.

“They’ve changed the way they play from last year, 4-5-1 and a very fluid 4-5-1.

“They are on a very good run of results and I think he got manager of the month for November.

“They are a threat, a real strong team and we will have to be at our best tomorrow.

“It’s going to be a tough, tough ask tomorrow.”

City showed their quality in the first encounter that was postponed after 55 minutes because of heavy snow with the score goalless.

Money said: “If you look at the hour of play in the snow it was a very tight affair and not too many chances for either team.”

With Adam Newton, Freddie Murray, Shane Blackett and Charlie Henry all already unavailable due to injuries there was further bad news for the Hatters.

Alex Lawless is unable to play under the terms of his move from Bootham Crescent, while Amari Morgan-Smith will probably not have recovered from the knock he picked up at AFC Wimbledon in the week and Alex Lacey and Jason Walker are ruled out after being forced off in the 4-0 FA Trophy win over Uxbridge at the weekend.

Money continued: “You get certain games in the season where you can suddenly get a little bit stretched.

“Amari Morgan-Smith probably won’t be fit, Jason Walker’s doubtful with a slight hamstring and with the weather and the pitch as it is we have to be guided by the physio on that one.

“The resources will be stretched tomorrow.

“But the performances of some of the youngsters gave everyone a lot of pleases at the weekend and hope for the future.”

And specifically on Lacey and Walker, he said: “You don’t want people out for a month when they could be out for a week.”

That means the likes of two-goal men Taiwo Atieno and Adam Watkins, plus Godfrey Poku and JJ O’Donnell could come into the reckoning after impressing Money against Uxbridge.

He said: “It’s very easy to see we won 4-0 and say Uxbridge weren’t a very good team on the day.

“It was the way they went about it. They got in between and in little pockets.

“They played the right way through the team and on the floor.

“There was some great movement and great endeavour.

“It was a pleasure to see you have to say.

“They were all excellent at the weekend and, if needs be, let’s see if they can step up to the next level.”

On Kenyan international Atieno, he continued: “I think he has become a little bit of a forgotten man and I think he did a really good job for the team on Saturday where we needed a little bit of a leader up front.”

And there are no concerns over the pitch despite all the home game coming up.

“It played pretty well. I do suggest it played better than it would have done last year and the groundsman was pleased with how it recovered and it be flat tomorrow,” Money said.

“We should count our blessings it’s wet and not icy and get on with it.”

One concern for the Hatters are two blanks in front of goal in their last two games, but Money was not unduly concerned.

He said: “There was a period when we got five against Histon and six against someone else.

“Maybe the ratio (chances to goals) owes us a few over the next few games.

“I’m really happy with the team, they are in good form and we have loads of people in a good place.

And he called on his players to deliver the type of performance they produced at Bath and AFC.

He added: “If we produce that type of performance tomorrow they will be right with us and the onus is on us to do that.”

York’s only doubt for the game is midfielder Neil Barrett, who has missed the last two games with a knee injury.

They are likely to recall top scorer Michael Rankine who came off the bench to inspire Saturday’s 2-1 win at Histon after missing the previous game - Tuesday’s 1-0 home win over Grimsby - due to illness.

Town target Dave McGurk is also expected to return for Greg Young in defence after recovering from a bout of illness.

Star midfielder Andy Drury added: “Since York have changed their manager they’ve done really well.

“They’re up there in the form table and that will be another tough game as they’re coming thick and fast.”