Hatters boss Nathan Jones felt the time had been right to bring keeper Mark Tyler back into the starting line-up for the home clash against Hartlepool yesterday.
The 38-year-old was forced off after just eight minutes with a back injury during Jones’ first game in charge against Cambridge, with Elliot Justham taking over.
“It’s important to have those competition and Tyler’s been an exemplary professional as he’s been throughout his 20 year career.”Nathan Jones
Tyler then returned to the bench before revealing to the Peterborough Telegraph that an apparent offer to return to his former club Posh had been rejected by the Hatters.
He remained an unused sub for games against Yeovil, Wycombe and AFC Wimbledon, but with Justham conceding four in a heavy defeat to the Dons last week, Jones took the opportunity to recall Tyler.
The boss said: “I just felt it was the right time to bring him back. I felt Elliot has done fantastically well in terms of he had three clean sheets in five games, then we had last weeks game where it was a disappointing defensive performance all round.
“So I just felt this game at home was right to bring Tyler back and he proved so with a comfortable display.
“He made things look easy, he made one good save down to his right, but he had an assurance about him.
“That’s why we have two keepers, a young up and coming one who’s a pretender to the throne if you like and then we have the experienced one that you know what you’re going to get from.
“It’s important to have those competition and Tyler’s been an exemplary professional as he’s been throughout his 20 year career.
“To to play until you’re 38, you have to be a good professional and he’s shown that in his patience, how he’s trained, how he’s prepared, he’s come back in and been a superb pair of hands.”
Striker Craig Mackail-Smith wasn’t surprised there had been interest from Peterborough, a club where he was also a former team-mate of Tyler, but delighted Hatters had kept hold of the keeper.
He said: “He’s very, very well thought of down there and is still a fantastic player at the age he is, still putting fantastic performances in.
“So I’m not surprised that Peterborough have enquired about him and he lives in Peterborough, but it shows he still wants to play, still wants to be at Luton and he feels that there’s something good that’s slowly happening.
“You want to keep the best players and people with experience, so it can help the young players through the game.
“He’s been a fantastic servant here, has put in some fantastic performances, he’s someone you want around.
“If he’s not in the team, you still want him around as he can give that experience to the back four, can give the experience to the younger keepers, and having that experience in your team is invaluable at any level.”
The match was Tyler’s 295th in a Luton shirt as he is now back on track to become only the second goalkeeper to play 300 games for Town, with Bernard Streten’s 299 in his sights, although Ron Baynham remains some way off still, having made a mighty 434 appearances.
Jones added: “He deserves that as he’s broken the 600 mark and now 300 for this club. He’s been a great servant for both Peterborough and for us.
“It’s fitting that he’s getting to these landmarks because he’s an excellent professional. People make a lot of changes when people leave people out, but it’s part and parcel of football. There’s no egos, no certain things, it’s competition.
“I had a 25 year playing career and not one day was I able to relax and think I’m comfortable here, because I wasn’t and that’s competition and that’s what it is.
“It keeps you on your toes, keeps you at your best and in Tyler’s case, it keeps you young.”