Hatters striker Morris determined to finally enjoy his Wembley outing after last two trips ended with defeat and injury

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Forward played twice at the home of English football with Shrewsbury

Luton striker Carlton Morris is determined to finally enjoy his Wembley outing this weekend after his last two visits ended in defeat and what was a serious injury.

Back in April 2018, Morris, on loan at Shrewsbury Town from Norwich City, was part of the side who lost out 1-0 to Lincoln City in the final of Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.

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He then returned to the home of English football a month later for the League One play-off final, but was substituted on 66 minutes due to what turned out to be a nasty injury, as the Shrews were beaten 2-1 in extra time.

Carlton Morris goes up to win a header for Shrewsbury against Rotherham United in the 2018 League One play-off finalCarlton Morris goes up to win a header for Shrewsbury against Rotherham United in the 2018 League One play-off final
Carlton Morris goes up to win a header for Shrewsbury against Rotherham United in the 2018 League One play-off final

Morris now returns for a third time when he is expected to lead the line for the Hatters in their Championship play-off final with Coventry City this weekend, the winner becoming a Premier League side.

On his previous tastes of Wembley, he said: “I played twice with Shrewsbury and lost the first one in the JPT, or whatever it’s called now, and then lost in the final and unfortunately did my cruciate ligament, which was a double-whammy.

“I joked earlier that it can’t get much worse than that, so I’ve got nothing to fear going into it.

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“It’s just a way of turning quite a tough experience for me, personally, into quite a valuable one.

“I’m at peace with it now.

"It took me a long while to get over what happened physically and mentally.

"Now I try to use it as a positive and it’s already working because I’m already in a much better headspace than I was back then.”

Morris admitted he hadn’t realised just how serious an injury he had suffered at the time, even making repeated attempts to return to the hallowed turf and continue playing.

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He continued: “Not a lot of people remember, but I actually came back on the pitch three or four times to try to play through it.

“It had to take something like that to get me off the pitch.

"I thought I could just run it off, but by the second time I thought there’s something seriously wrong here and it’s not something I can continue with.

"Unfortunately, it was what it was.”

The striker went on to miss the entire 2018-19 campaign when recovering and was then sent out on loan by the Canaries to both Rotherham and MK Dons the following year, but admitted he took longer than he had expected to begin feeling fully like himself once more.

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Once he did, Morris’s career took off, sold to Barnsley before being snapped up by Luton in the summer, going on to score 20 league goals this term, as he said: “It changes the trajectory of my career.

"I remember someone telling me at the time after we’d lost the game and my knee, I think it was Steve Naismith, ‘it’s not just the seven to nine months it takes to rehab the injury, it’s actually another year on top to come back to the player that you’re going to be.’

“I sort of didn’t understand what he meant at the time, really, until I went through it and thought I wasn’t myself at the time when I went to Rotherham and MK.

“I was still finding my feet and every tackle you’re sort of cringing a bit, but I’m on the right path again, so I’m quite thankful for that.

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“In an ideal world, you’d go through your whole career without a serious injury, that’s a fairy-tale and this is real life.

"I’m not the only one it’s happened to, it’s happened to everyone.

"The people that it’s happened to, that I’m around, I try to give them the same advice.

“I’m just happy and in a place now where I’m going into the peak of my career in these next few years. I’m just full of excitement for it.”

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Having had his own personal experience of Wembley and the build-up that takes place prior to the game, Morris was going to pass on some tips to those in Luton squad who might be going through it for the first time, adding: “The main thing is, I just say to a few of the boys, because it’s easy to get in the mindset of I wish the game was tomorrow, there’s a lot of times that you’re thinking about it and it just looms over you, but I just say enjoy all of it.

“Enjoy the build-up, enjoy especially the day of the game because it all just goes so fast and then it becomes a memory so quickly.

“We had a couple of days off after the Sunderland game just to regroup emotionally and physically and we’ve come back in and firing in training again.

“This week is build-up week and we’re raring to go.”