Lockyer praises upbeat Luton boss but admits injury crisis has been 'demoralising'

Town have a number of first team players out for the season
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Hatters defender Tom Lockyer admitted the injury crisis that has ravaged the squad at Kenilworth Road this season has been ‘demoralising’ at times, but praised manager Rob Edwards for the way he has dealt with it.

The Hatters have had terrible luck with player availability throughout the campaign, Edwards very rarely, if ever, having a full complement to work with. Marvelous Nakamba, Jacob Brown, Amari’i Bell and Dan Potts are all now out for the season with knee and hamstring problems, while Lockyer himself won’t feature either, as he continues to recover from an on-field cardiac arrest against AFC Bournemouth back in December.

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Town have also been without key duo Elijah Adebayo and Sambi Lokonga in recent weeks, the pair suffering hamstring issues, while Joe Johnson contracted glandular fever and centre half Gabe Osho has also missed a few games, with Danish defender Mads Andersen only just back in training after a calf injury that has wrecked his second half of the campaign.

Alfie Doughty had to go off in the 1-1 draw against Nottingham Forest before the international break - pic: Liam SmithAlfie Doughty had to go off in the 1-1 draw against Nottingham Forest before the international break - pic: Liam Smith
Alfie Doughty had to go off in the 1-1 draw against Nottingham Forest before the international break - pic: Liam Smith

Luton’s last fixture against Nottingham Forest saw both Alfie Doughty and Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu forced off as well, as they have had to name two goalkeepers on the bench in recent matches, plus three teenagers in Zack Nelson, Axel Piesold and Dominic Dos Santos Martins, who have just one top flight outing between them.

Asked if he thought the international break had come at a good time for Town to try and get some bodies back, speaking to the BBC Monday Night Club, Lockyer said: “Yes and no. I know there were a couple, Alfie and Pelly Ruddock who limped out just before the international break, so hopefully it gives them a little chance, but I think that’s seven starters out for the season now.

“When you gave a right squad like we do, to lose one or two is going to dent it, but to lose seven is demoralising at times and fair play to Rob Edwards, I’ve not seen him once in any of his interviews, or use it as an excuse. He’s said in the face of adversity, let’s just roll our sleeves up and work harder and that's exactly what the boys are doing.”

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Edwards himself has always refused to ever blame the injury problems for his side’s inability to climb away from the relegation zone, even though he was once more left with a depleted pool to to select from when drawing 1-1 with the Reds just under a fortnight ago. He continued: “We didn’t play at our best but we found a way to get something from the game. It’s difficult for us to be at our best at the moment, we had a full team missing who were unavailable for us. I love the guys who were playing, they gave us everything, but it was hard for us to be at our best.”

Although Town have now had time off to recharge their batteries and try to nurse some of their injured players back to full health, Edwards wasn’t expecting a huge change in numbers when heading to Spurs this weekend, adding: “We might be able to get a couple back, but it’s not going too many, unfortunately. We’ve just got so many long termers, so we hope to go in the Tottenham away game with one or two more to help us. That’ll be a nice easy one!”