Injured Guttridge will be used sparingly by Hatters

Luke Guttridge
Luke Guttridge

Luton Town boss John Still has reiterated once more that he may well have to use influential midfielder Luke Guttridge sparingly this season.

The 33-year-old started his third game in a row at Notts County last weekend, but was forced off in the second half due to a back injury.

“I don’t know that Luke’s got 40-odd games in him, with the greatest respect. I think he’s got 20-odd, maybe 30, so I want to use him wisely.”

John Still

Previously, Guttridge had declared himself fit enough to play a full part this campaign, but the Still remained wary that was indeed the case

He said: “Luke’s not featured for a few games and I know Luke always thought he was fit and ready, and of course he would, but I know he’s not been.

“He’s pretty fit but I know that Luke playing consistently, perhaps isn’t great for Luke.

“He’s picked up a little bit of a knock, that’s not his fault, it’s just how it works, but when you’re at your peak of fitness, you can ride those challenges.

“Luke’s come in and done very well, but he it was just his back and hamstring a little bit.

“I don’t know that Luke’s got 40-odd games in him, with the greatest respect. I think he’s got 20-odd, maybe 30, so I want to use him wisely.

“He deserved to play Saturday, regardless of the result would we have played him this Saturday? I don’t know. It’s been taken out of my hands a little bit now, but I do know that, not just me, talking to the fitness department and physio department, we have to be sensible.”

Midfielder Nathan Doyle and striker Paul Benson won’t be considered for this weekend’s home clash with Mansfield either as both have been pencilled in to get some game time against AFC Wimbledon in the reserves on Tuesday.

Still continued: “With Doyley, it’s his hamstring. He was pushing on up until last week then just felt it a touch. It was one of those things, do we say lets just push on? Or do we take it back a little bit.

“So we took it back a little bit, he’s trained today, not with the main group, but he’ll train tomorrow, train Saturday, train Monday. Then we’ll look at is it worth him training Tuesday or trying to play an hour for the reserves, so we’ll see how it is.

“We’ll also probably look to play Benno in the reserves as he’s had a problem with his neck. It’s a lot better, he’s training, but probably one more week and hopefully a game midweek.”

Meanwhile, Magnus Okuonghae isn’t deated to start for the first team just yet, although Jack Marriott is available from suspension, with Dan Potts back in contention too.

Still said: “Pottsy played in the reserves (against Leyton Orient), but he’s been out two or three weeks, so he probably needs another game for us to want to use him.

“Will we use him? I don’t know, because different situations might come up and if Scott Griffiths isn’t quite right, we could probably play him.

“But I think it’s important you give people the opportuntiy to get back to proper fitness. He’s fit in himself but sharpness is important.

“Magnus played in the reserves the other day, he’s okay, he’ll have one or two more reserve games before I want to consider him though.”

Meanwhile, goalkeeper Elliot Justham is available after he took a heavy blow in training last week as Still said: “He’s fine, he trained today.

“The doc looked at him as it was a hell of an impact, but he got checked out of the hospital.

“He’s come in every day this week but not really done much, although he’s trained full out today and he’s absolutely fine.”

One player Hatters will also be missing is defender Scott Cuthbert who was dismissed in the closing stages of last weekend’s 3-2 defeat at Notts County with Still revealing the club had failed in an appeal to get the red card rescinded.

He added: “After watching it back we did appeal, because when we saw it, all of us in here were a bit embarrassed.

“He (Izale McLeod) just went down, so we sent it off to the FA and they’ve come back two to one in favour of it, because they thought Scott was tumbling.

“Well, Scott certainly wasn’t tumbling into him and he’d (McLeod) already been booked for diving.

“We sent it off to the office for directors and staff to have a look at it and they said it wasn’t a sending off, and when you see it, we were all a bit embarrassed with it.”