Luton skipper praises Rea for staying strong during injury absence

Hatters club captain Alan Sheehan praised Glen Rea for getting through his serious injury to make his long-awaited comeback during Tuesday night’s 3-0 defeat at Stoke City.

Midfielder Glen Rea made his Hatters return on Tuesday night
Midfielder Glen Rea made his Hatters return on Tuesday night

The 25-year-old had been out since December last year following cruciate ligament damage suffered against Burton Albion in Town's 2-0 win at Kenilworth Road.

After recovering from the injury, Rea went on loan to National League side Woking last month to build up his match-fitness, before earning a place on the bench at the bet365 Stadium.

Although his return didn’t go quite to plan, brought on at half time with the Hatters trailing 2-0, only to be booked seconds into the second period, and then caught in possession by Joe Allen, who went on to make it 3-0, Sheehan said: “It was brilliant to see him back and like everyone, you want to come into the team and make an impression.

"What Glen's been through the last year has been tough, it's been a very tough year for him and his mentality, the way he is as a lad, he's got through it.

"He was rewarded with his Championship debut, so people like him are good to have around the place as hes a winner.

"Hopefully he gets up to speed as quick as he can, as its an unforgiving league, but we're delighted to have Glen back.”

With Rea on the pitch, and Sheehan also in the side for his first Championship start of the season, the Town XI had a real feel of last term's League One promotion-winning side to it, with only Ryan Tunnicliffe and James Bree from the new additions involved, until Jacob Butterfield also came on for the closing stages.

On his own chance from the opening whistle, Sheehan said: “The manager and me, we speak regularly, I know what my role is at the club, I’m okay with that.

"Pottsy’s (Dan Potts) been playing and James (Bree) has been playing there, so we’ve shuffled the back four around.

"I'm just disappointed with the result overall though, it’s not about me coming back in or anybody coming back in.

"The only thing that matters is the result and that’s the really gutting thing for all of us.

"We don’t like losing and unfortunately we’re losing more games than we’re used to.

"So we have to stick together, it's a long way to go and there’ll be ups and downs before the end of the season."

When asked about Sheehan's comeback, boss Graeme Jones said: "“He did fine, he had a go, fought, he’s got good quality as you know.”

Meanwhile, the boss also admitted that no-one who has been out of the team will be jettisoned from his thought process as long as they continue to show the right approach in training.

He added: "Right at the beginning of the season, I said to every player, that the type of coach I am, I believe that you can improve everybody, sometimes temporarily, sometimes permanently.

"But I said these are the rules of my circle, I’ll never ever put you out of my circle, never,. I’ll work with you, I don’t care what the situation is, I’ll work with you.

"Only you can put yourself outside of the circle, by how you behave, professional or not.

"They’ve never put themselves outside of the circle, not once, because the contribution has been there, whether they’ve been playing in the 18 or not.

"For me, that’s how I want to run a football club. It means it’s a healthy football club, their behaviour has been one that Luton Town should be really, really proud of."