Luton defender Lockyer happy to get 90 minutes after a 'weird' pre-season

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Centre half plays whole match as Town defeat Wednesday

Luton defender Tom Lockyer was overjoyed to get a first 90 minutes under his belt since the play-off semi-final second leg win over Sunderland back in May after what he described as a ‘weird’ pre-season.

The 28-year-old started training later than the rest of his team-mates after undergoing extensive medical checks following his on-field collapse inside the opening 10 minutes of the play-off final at Wembley, which eventually required an operation to correct an atrial fibrillation in June.

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Following his new contract, Lockyer was back at the Brache with Town’s squad, but was held back to begin with when the physical activities started to ensure he had made a full recovery.

He didn’t play as Town beat Peterborough United 3-1 in a behind-closed-doors at St George’s Park, before heading out to Slovenia for a warm weather training camp.

Lockyer then played an hour in the 1-1 draw against Ipswich on Tuesday night, going on to start at Hillsborough for the Hatters’ second match, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu and Carlton Morris on target in the victory.

The Welsh international lasted the entire match, along with James Shea, Alfie Doughty and Mads Andersen, as speaking to the club’s official website on how he found it and the training so far, he said: “Tough, really tough, it's been a different pre-season for myself.

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“It's been a weird one if I'm being honest, I’ve always been told I’m a couple of weeks behind, but it doesn’t sit right with me.

Tom Lockyer applauds the Hatters after a 2-1 pre-season friendly win at Sheffield Wednesday - pic: Ashley Allen/Getty ImagesTom Lockyer applauds the Hatters after a 2-1 pre-season friendly win at Sheffield Wednesday - pic: Ashley Allen/Getty Images
Tom Lockyer applauds the Hatters after a 2-1 pre-season friendly win at Sheffield Wednesday - pic: Ashley Allen/Getty Images

“I want to be up with the lads, so to finally get 90 is a good feeling and I know it's in the locker now.

"When the lads start running in the off season ready for the pre-season, obviously I wasn't allowed to do too much.

"I was only allowed to do a couple of 5ks just to see where I was at and obviously when the lads are doing their own stuff, they’re sprinting box to boxes and very S&C (strength and conditioning) specific, which I wasn't able to do, which meant when I came in, they were very conscious of me not breaking down as that would set me back further.

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“So it’s been a different pre-season, but hopefully now with 90 in the tank I can look forward.”

With Town heading to Wolves on Wednesday and then travelling to Germany to take on Vfl Bochum in two matches next weekend, on what he expects to do before the Premier League season starts in full at Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday, August 12, Lockyer continued: “Who knows? It's the S&C who run everything with their numbers and data, whatever I'm asked to play, I’ll play.

"Obviously I’ll always be pushing for more, but the main thing is to try and be as fit as possible going into that first game.”

On the prospect of facing the Seagulls in what will be Town’s first top flight encounter for over 30 years, Lockyer added: “You don't really want to look too far ahead, you can get carried away with the season that is coming up.

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"We have to focus on getting our principles right on the pitch, doing everything we can in training for the first game, so we’re well drilled for that first game.

"You want to win the pre-season friendlies, but there’s a deeper meaning for us at the minute.

"Shape, how we want to play, how we want to move the ball, getting to know new players who’ve come in and them getting used to our style of play.

"So you’ve got to see preseason for what it is, but I’m delighted to get 90 minutes under my belt and I know a few of the lads have as well.”