Ingram will relish play-off experience with Luton after injury robbed him of playing when at Wycombe

On-loan stopper was ruled out for the Chairboys

By Mike Simmonds
Friday, 13th May 2022, 11:28 am
Town keeper Matt Ingram
Town keeper Matt Ingram

Town’s emergency loan keeper Matt Ingram can’t wait to get his first taste of play-off action after injury cruelly robbed him of the opportunity earlier in his career.

Back in the 2014-15 campaign, the stopper was with Wycombe Wanderers as they finished fourth in League Two, the homegrown stopper having started all 46 league games, earning a semi-final against Plymouth Argyle.

Going through 5-3 on aggregate, the Chairboys then came up against Southend in the final, as they drew 1-1, only to eventually lose 7-6 on penalties, but it was done with Alex Lynch between the posts.

On why he had to miss out, Ingram said: “When I was in League Two, I played every game of the season, got us to the play-offs and unfortunately got injured on the last day of the season (at Northampton).

"I did my MCL (medial collateral ligament), so I was in and around the squad, but missed the semi-final and the final, and unfortunately Wycombe lost in the final.

"So I’ve been in and around play-offs before, albeit not at this level so hopefully the experience, even though I didn't play, puts me in good stead as it’s a massive opportunity for me.”

Ingram finds himself getting the chance to play for the Hatters in the two-legged semi-final against Huddersfield Town starting this evening, after a number of injury problems for the Kenilworth Road keepers this season.

Once Simon Sluga had left for Ludogorets, on-loan Aston Villa stopper Jed Steer came in, but ruptured his Achilles against Chelsea in the FA Cup, ruling him out for the foreseeable future.

It looked like James Shea would take the gloves for the rest of the campaign, only to then suffer a serious knee injury himself against Cardiff City recently.

That led to Ingram being signed from Championship rivals Hull City and on whether he has been able to share his experience with the former Arsenal youngster, he said; “Mine was my MCL, which isn’t quite as bad as your ACL (anterior cruciate ligament, because I believe he’s done both.

“I did a grade two, which took me about three months to get back from, whereas I think he’s done his ACL and his MCL, so he’s got a bit of time to wait to see if the MCL repairs.

“If that doesn’t repair, I think he then might need an operation, and then the ACL as well.

“His one’s a lot more complicated, obviously, I can sympathise with him on the MCL, but I think his MCL is a little more serious.

“To be fair, he’s been in and around the training group, I’ve been speaking to him, he’s been supporting me and he’s been really upbeat and he’s a great character.”

The addition of Ingram has seen Harry Isted drop back to the bench after making his full league debut against Blackpool, showing he wasn’t fazed by the level.

Despite only being at the club for a short time, the Tigers stopper has been impressed by what he has seen from the former Stoke and Southampton youngster, but knew that with only Jameson Horlick as back-up, Town needed to act, saying: “It has been tough on Harry because he has done really well when he’s been needed, but I think going into the last few games and what is the play-offs now, they needed two senior keepers, him being one.

"The risk was with the track history this year of people getting injured and then giving a debut to a younger lad was one that was a bit too risky.

“It is a tough position as only one of you can play on a Saturday and I’ve had it before where I’ve sat on the bench for a long period of time and you’re frustrated, but you just have to keep doing the right things.

"He is a fantastic goalkeeper, I’m surprised he hasn’t played even more at his age because he has go so much ability just in the few training sessions I’ve had.

"He has been great towards me and that’s all I can ask for coming in.

"All of them have been fantastic though, the gaffer has been brilliant, all the lads have been great welcoming me and I feel like I’ve settled in really well.”

Attacker Harry Cornick was also quick to praise Isted for the role he has had since Shea’s injury, saying: “A mention for Harry Isted, he’s come in, played two or three games, been unbelievable for us, trained all season, it’s harsh on him, but it’s the decision the gaffer made and the keeper has come in and kept a clean sheet (against Reading).

"But Harry Isted over the last few games has been unbelievable and it’s a credit to him.

"He’s not sulked once, he’s been the same person in training, he’s pushed Matt all the way and made sure he’s started and adapted well to the club.”

On Ingram, who postponed a trip to the Maldives to aid Luton’s quest for the Premier League, Cornick added: “I’ve just found out he’s cancelled his honeymoon, so lets hope we do it for him really.

"His missus can’t be happy, so we’ll have to go to Wembley for him and win it, but he’s done brilliantly too.”