Lockyer relieved to be over ankle injury even if he felt Robins return was his 'worst game' in a Luton shirt

Centre half makes first start since November 27 in midweek victory

By Mike Simmonds
Thursday, 27th January 2022, 7:59 am
Updated Thursday, 27th January 2022, 8:02 am
Town defender Tom Lockyer back in action for the Hatters on Tuesday night
Town defender Tom Lockyer back in action for the Hatters on Tuesday night

Town defender Tom Lockyer was very critical of his comeback performance during the 2-1 victory over Bristol City on Tuesday night.

The Welsh international was thrust into the action against the Robins after not featuring since November 27 due to an ankle problem.

Although admittedly not at his best during the first half, one backpass almost selling keeper James Shea short, there were mitigating circumstances for Lockyer, who hadn't seen any kind of football at all since the 2-1 defeat against Cardiff well before Christmas.

He still managed to get his head on James Bree's cross to open the scoring for the Hatters on 42 minutes and was heavily involved in the second as well, having another effort saved, with Elijah Adebayo doing the rest, even if the centre half felt he should have been celebrating a rare double strike.

But on his own showing, Lockyer said: “The important thing is when you’re not playing well to pick up points.

"We certainly didn’t play well, personally it’s probably the worst game I’ve had in a Luton shirt, which is funny really and then I go on and score two goals, so it’s funny old world isn’t it.

“I felt okay, not quite where I need to be, as there’s only so much running and that you can do, but replicating match minutes is really different.

"I tried to get involved with a few U23 games, but didn’t quite line up with our training, so it was a bit tough for me.

"I’m just trying to do as much as I can on the training field, so when it came I was ready, judging by that performance, I didn’t do enough, but it was good to be out there.

“I didn’t even get any minutes for them (U23s squad), so it is what it is, hopefully that’s the cobwebs off for me and I can push on from here.”

It wasn't just Lockyer making his long-awaited comeback, as with Reece Burke suspended and Sonny Bradley injured, he was part of a much-changed back-line for the Hatters, including Gabe Osho, who himself hadn't started a game since November 7.

It was the same for Glen Rea and Luke Berry in front of them, the pair not featuring either recently, as Lockyer continued: "You could see that at times, we’re missing Sonny who’s obviously massive and Burkey's come in and done really well, but when you get called on you have to be ready.

"I wouldn’t say I was quite ready tonight, I was ready for it, but it just wasn’t how I’d have liked to play the game.

"But if you’d had said three points I’d have bit your hand off however it came."

Lockyer is now looking to enjoy an injury-free second half of the season, as he hopes to have finally seen the back of the ankle issues that have plagued him for the last 12 months.

He added: "Glass ankles, it’s what ended my season half-way through last season and then kind of just creeped back after the Cardiff game.

"I didn’t feel it all tonight so hopefully I'm over the hill on that one, touch wood, but never say never with them.

“It's the first time where I’ve ever had to sit out games through injury.

"I've had 25 years with no injuries and since I moved to Luton, last season my season ended and I’ve been picking up little niggles, which just isn’t me.

"I like to crack on and stay in the team when I get the chance, and for whatever reason it hasn’t quite happened.

"But I can only go off how I felt tonight and the ankle felt good, so I’m going to have to try and stay on top of them."