Mackail-Smith remains a doubt for York clash

Luton Town striker Craig Mackail-Smith remains a doubt for this weekend’s League Town clash with York City at Kenilworth Road.

By Mike Simmonds
Thursday, 8th October 2015, 2:20 pm
Craig Mackail-Smith receives treatment at Hartlepool
Craig Mackail-Smith receives treatment at Hartlepool

The 31-year-old came off in the first half of last Saturday’s 4-1 victory over Hartlepool with a tight hamstring as Hatters boss John Still said: “Craig has done a little bit this week, not a lot. He looks okay, but we’ll wait until tomorrow to decide.”

Three players players who will definitely miss out are Paul Benson (neck), Stephen O’Donnell (ankle) and Paddy McCourt (international duty).

Still confirmed Benson has now had an injection and should step up his training next week.

He said: “He was sore for a couple of days afterwards, but I think he feels a lot better now, so he’ll be back in training Monday.

“We’re hoping he can gradually up his training throughout the course of the week, and the following week we’re hoping it’s all systems go for him.”

On O’Donnell, Still continued: “He has’t trained this week, he’ll probably train next week.

“He’s had a little ankle injury and we left him out of a game, not just because of the injury, as it looked like he needed a little bit of a rest.

“He was carrying a bit of an injury, so what we’ve done, we’ve stripped that down, said ‘get that ankle right’ and we haven’t used him or he hasn’t trained with us since he didn’t play.

“I would be surprised if he wasn’t back in full training next week though.”

Midfielder Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu is getting closer to being included in the first team squad once more too after completing 90 minutes in the Final Third Development League’s 1-0 win over Southend.

Still said: “We could have taken a chance and played him at Gillingham (in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy), but he just needed a game.

“I’d sooner he’d done something where if he got a bit tired, I know it sounds silly, but he could come off for 10 minutes, we could play with 10 men, and then go back on.

“We need him to get as much time as he can. He’s been training, he only had a dead leg, people think he’s injured and we could have thrown him in a bit earlier.

“I think it was the right thing to do and it’s important that he’s not only fit but confident about things.

“He came through 90 minutes really well so he’s trained today and we’ll see how he trains for a couple of days. As long as there’s no problems he would come in the frame of that (first team squad).”

Still is also hoping to push on both Magnus Okuonghae and Nathan Doyle after they played the full game against Gillingham on Tuesday night.

He added: “Magnus should really, really grow from that, the confidence from that.

“What that has helped us do is we can really push him on in training now.

“We’ve stuck to a program to get him to here, now he’s come through some development games and a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy game against their two regular forwards, we can really push him in training now and think he can come on and on.

“He could probably do with another game of that ilk, Doyley too. It was good for him to get that amount of time, while Alex Lawless is another one who has come on in games and done well.

“He has suffered with injury, but he’s up to speed now, so I think all of the positives we could get we got, other than the result.”