No risks for Hatters boss just yet as Town centre half might make Cherries clash

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Defender Burke could be fit to face Bournemouth

Luton defender Reece Burke has a chance of returning to the squad to face AFC Bournemouth this weekend after making good progress from the Achilles injury picked up against Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.

The 27 year-old had been starting a fifth league game in a row for the Hatters, just one off his record of six which he has only managed twice during his three years at Kenilworth Road, both times when the club were in the Championship, before having to go off at half time, and missed Wednesday night’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal.

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Burke’s absence took Luton’s number of first team players sitting out the trip to the Emirates to 11 in total, as giving an update this afternoon, boss Rob Edwards admitted the ex-West Ham player is the only who could possibly return to face the Cherries, with Elijah Adebayo, Sambi Lokonga, Chiedozie Ogbene, Mads Andersen and Gabe Osho all still doubtful for the following weekend at Manchester City as well.

Reece Burke might be fit enough to play against AFC Bournemouth this weekend - pic: Liam SmithReece Burke might be fit enough to play against AFC Bournemouth this weekend - pic: Liam Smith
Reece Burke might be fit enough to play against AFC Bournemouth this weekend - pic: Liam Smith

Edwards said: “The other 10 are a no and Burkey is hopeful, we’ll give him as much time as we can. I don’t think (they’ll be back) for City. Sambi will have the best chance of being back for Brentford, he’s pushing, Eli, Chieo will be after that. They’re progressing, but they won’t be the next couple of games unfortunately."

The Town chief had stated in the week that he might get to the point where he has to risk pushing his injured players in a bid to see just what they are capable of doing to help his side in their battle to stay in the Premier League this term. It won’t be this weekend though against one of the top flight’s in-form outfits, Andoni Ireola's team on a run of four wins from five games, only beaten four times in the top flight since early November, even if the players themselves are keen to put their bodies on the line.

He continued: “It’s (risking them) not on my mind right now and it’s something that the players would have to buy into as well as it’s their bodies. They’re really keen to push, they are, and they have been, so there’ll be rationale and educated risks, but we’ll see when we get to those stages, the latter stages. The lads are really keen to get back as soon as possible and help.

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“The lads have been great and really keen to push and you want to be able to listen to them and they want to listen to their bodies as well, but sometimes the experts know and know what the right thing to do is as well. It’s a real fine balance on that as no player is ever 100 percent when they’re playing, they’re always feeling things.

"With some of the situations we’ve got, they’ve been out long time quite a few of them, they’re more long term ones and coming back from those ones is not so straightforward. They want to play, they want to affect it and want to be part of hopefully an incredibly successful season. They want to help us and I love that about this group. They’re really together and they all want to help.”

Edwards also admitted that sometimes the medical staff have had to have the final say even if a player has put himself into contention, adding: “Yes, and you need that as well (players wanting to be involved). We’ve had a few of those which is great because you want players to be really keen to come back, so it’s finding that balance where it’s got to be safe. The longer the season goes on and it gets to the stage where there’s not many games left, maybe we’ll have to chuck everything at it and take some risks, but we’re not at that stage at the minute.”

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