Lockyer expected to return for Luton's Carabao Cup trip to Boro

Defender due a first senior outing since February

By Mike Simmonds
Tuesday, 10th August 2021, 7:00 am
Hatters boss Nathan Jones
Hatters boss Nathan Jones

Wales international Tom Lockyer is expected to be available to face Stevenage in the Carabao Cup first round clash this evening.

The 26-year-old hasn’t played a first team game for the Hatters since February 16, when he suffered an ankle injury that kept him out for the rest of the season.

He recovered in time to make his country’s squad for the recent Euros, but didn’t make it on the pitch as Rob Page's side went out in the second round of the tournament.

Lockyer then featured in a handful of pre-season matches for Luton, but missed the games against Portsmouth and Brighton, plus Saturday’s Championship opener with Peterborough United.

However, he and some others could be in the starting line-up at the Lamex Stadium, as boss Nathan Jones will no doubt make changes, saying: “There’s a few out of the squad, Lockyer played at Charlton (in a development game on Saturday), he got minutes, so he’ll be available.

“Coupled with people like Elliot Lee and (Henri) Lansbury, who’ve missed a bit of training, we’ll be in a better place, more available and looking at a real strong performance.”

The Hatters last came up against Boro in the 2017-18 League Two season when after Luton hammered their opponents 7-1 at Kenilworth Road, were held to a 1-1 draw on their travels.

It's a ground Jones hasn't actually won at as Town manager either, as they year before, the visitors led through Cameron McGeehan's goal, only to concede in the last minute, in a 2-1 defeat.

With that in mind, the boss knows it won't be easy, continuing: "We treat it as a derby because it is, the locality of it.

"Our local rivals, our derby is Watford, but to come up against someone like a Peterborough, the proximity of it, it’s a bit of a derby game, to come up against Stevenage, it’s a bit of a derby game, and it’s a tough game, a real tough game.

"It's another chance for the fans to come as it’s not much travelling and it’s a game we want to win.

"Every time we go to Stevenage it's tough, whether it’s a pre-season friendly, whether it’s a league game, or whether it’s a cup game, it’s always going to be tough and we know that."

Last term the Hatters reached round three of the competition, eventually getting a plum draw against Premier League giants Manchester United, running the Red Devils close until going down 3-0 in the closing stages.

On Town's hopes for the tournament this term, Jones added: "Every competition we enter we pay respect.

"For us, to be as good as we can be in the Championship is paramount, whether we’re good enough to win the Carabao Cup, I’m not sure.

"But at this point in time, we’ve got a big squad that we can utilise, further down the line it tests you squad wise, but right now it’s another good test.

"We want these tests now as we’ve got some real big tests coming up, especially this month, we’ve got West Brom, we’ve got Sheffield United coming here, we've got Birmingham coming here, Barnsley (away).

"It’s wonderful in terms of the test we’ve got and we're looking forward to those."