Neilson upbeat over Henry future

LONG-TERM injury worry Charlie Henry came through Town’s 1-0 Combination victory at Southend United unscathed on Tuesday afternoon.

The 24-year-old winger played the last 25 minutes of the game as a second half substitute, much to the delight of assistant manager Alan Neilson, write Mark Wood.

He said: “Charlie’s had an injury. But hopefully he is now getting over it.

“He has been training hard over the last three or four weeks and it was a chance to push him on and he came on and did quite well. He came through unscathed. His shirt got ripped but that was the only thing that got damaged!”

Henry, pictured above, hadn’t played for the Hatters since signing from Newport County last November. A ligament in his foot became detached and Neilson continued: “We will build things up over the next few week and take it one step at a time.”

Luton won at Roots Hall thanks to John Paul Kissock’s 17th-minute deflected free-kick.

A strong Hatters side also included Ed Asafu-Adjaye, Dean Beckwith, Paul Carden, Aaron O’Connor and new signing Collin Samuel who played 80 minutes. Neilson said: “It was the first reserve game of the season. They are a decent side and we had a few senior players and a few young players.

“Both Kissock and Samuel did OK. Collin needs to get a bit of fitness.

“John Paul was more about learning the system we want to play. We played well first half, second half they came out and had a go, but we stayed solid. We played 4-4-2 first half and 4-3-3 second half. It was a very competitive workout.”

Neilson praised youngsters Jerome Jibodu and Colby McAdams and was also impressed by new scholar, centre-half Zak Stephens.

The assistant boss said: “He has signed scholarship forms for us. It was his first time in the reserves.

“Dean Beckwith helped him along and they kept a clean sheet which is good for a young lad. He is a big lad, 6ft 3ins. He still has a lot to learn but it’s an encouraging start for him.

“He has done well in the youth team and been given a chance in the reserves.”

Young defender Newman Carney was also given 25 minutes after returning to the club following trials elsewhere. Neilson added: “As a coach you want to see good young players play.

“We don’t get involved in the politics.

“We just want to see them play their football. He is a good young player and we want him to stay but it’s out of our hands.”

Hatters: Kidd, Jibodu, Asafu-Adjaye, Beckwith (Carney 65), Carden, Kissock, Stephens, Tavernier, McAdams, O’Connor (Henry 65), Samuel (Ann 80). Substitutes not used: Deeney, Nash.