Luton look to Iron out the ghosts of Braintree past

The ghosts of Braintree past will not surface again according to Hatters boss Paul Buckle when the Blue Square Bet Premier strugglers visit Kenilworth Road this evening, writes Mark Wood.

Cressing Road witnessed Buckle’s first game as Luton boss last season, and given a watching brief he looked on as Town surrendered 3-1 to the Iron.

But it’s been all change for both clubs since then, as Buckle said: “You won’t let me forget that game will you. You’re going to keep reminding me of that.

“That’s long gone now. That was a remindr that in this league and I suppose in any league, if you’re not at the races you will get undone, and that was a big reminder when I first came to the club of how you’ve got to be.

“On that day we were nowhere near it and we got punished.

“And as I said, we’ve come a long way since that day, we’ve come so far in such a short space of time.

“I’m delighted with the energy around the place. I’m sure our supporters have seen the difference.

“They’ve seen some real, real graft and work-rate and desire to win games.

“We’ve had to come from behind in games which shows real character as well.

“Our fitness levels have been good so I really think we’ve added massively to what was here before.

“It’s a big changeover and I’m always careful not to talk about that too much because it’s like it’s an excuse.

“Certainly I needed some time, the players needed some time and it’s the same with the staff because there’s been so much changing you’ve seen the change in the last few weeks with (Greg) Taylor and (Adam) Watkins going out on loan.

“You’ve seen (Janos) Kovacs and Deano (Beckwith) come out of the team and there’s been change.

“This it what it’s about, it’s about trying to improve on what we had here, I feel we’re doing that at the moment.

“But I must say it’s only at the moment, we are improving, our return of points has been excellent and the best it’s been since we’ve been in the Conference.

“So we are going in the right direction, it’s a very difficult league, it’s very difficult to get things to gel together, but we’re working tirelessly to get where we want to be.”

But the game is an opportunity to lay those ghosts to rest and it’s the kind the Hatters must win if they are to realise their promotion ambition.

Buckle added: “I think every game is an opportunity. We’re having to show different skills in our approach in games and our mentality’s really important because we go from playing at home in front of big crowds, and then we go away somewhere where there’s not so many.

“It’s a real tough challenge for everyone concerned, there’s no doubt about that at Luton else we would have got out in year one.

“We’d have been straight out of this league if it was just on one thing. Say it was ability or players you can bring in.

“But it’s a lot more to that. Every day I’m working really hard to try and get where we need to be so I can come in every day and say right, OK this is how the training ground is functioning properly, the players are right.

“I’ve always said once you can get that, you can start winning games on a regular basis.

“It’s a tough, tough league and tomorrow night again will be a challenge for us because we’re expected to just go out there and win.

“But if we can turn that mentality and say, look it’s tough, let’s all get behind it, no-one take anything for granted we can got and get an absolutely valuable three points again tomorrow night.”