Hard work has been the key for Luton defender Dan Potts’ new found potency in front of goal this season.
The 23-year-old hadn’t scored in his professional career until last season’s play-off semi-final first leg at Blackpool, in what his 65th appearance as a pro, over six years at Luton, West Ham, Colchester and Portsmouth.
However, that has all changed since then, with Potts now one of the Hatters’ main threats at set-pieces, notching his fifth goal of the season in the 3-0 win over Carlisle United last night, a third in three games too.
On just how he is becoming such a regular on the scoresheet, Potts said: “It’s probably something that I wanted to add to my game and is all coming together nicely at the moment.
“Every time the ball’s coming into the box at set-pieces, even open play, I try and get myself in position to score.
“I’ve got the confidence and belief I’m going to score too, so I think I’m half way there with that, then luckily the ball’s been going in the back of the net.
I’ve got the confidence and belief I’m going to score too, so I think I’m half way there with that, then luckily the ball’s been going in the back of the net.Dan Potts
“We have been, especially this year, working on set-pieces religiously each week, varying them for each game.
“Quite a few of them have been targeted for myself and Scotty (Cuthbert), but Scotty’s injured.
“The way it’s been going, Sheez (Alan Sheehan) has been putting in some great balls and luckily for him there’s always been someone on the end to put the ball in.
“But like I said, there’s a lot of hard work on the training pitch, Thursday afternoon, double sessions, just making sure they’re right.
“I think it’s been a big, big improvement to the team’s game this year, not only attacking, but defensively as well and it’s shown on the pitch.”
The Potts/Sheehan combination has proved a huge success so far as two of Potts’s last three goals have come from the Irishman’s delivery, with his Colchester strike back in August courtesy of an assist from the centre half.
Town’s left back said: “It’s great for me, I know that if make my run, nine times out of 10 the ball’s going to be there, waiting for me.
“It’s just about making sure I can lose my marker and get on the end of it, and I’m pretty confident in myself that I can do that and put the ball in the back of the net.”
Luton boss Nathan Jones was quick to talk up Sheehan’s assists too, as he is now on four for the season.
He said: “First of all, Sheehan’s delivery is top, top end, in anything he does, he has top, top delivery.
“Then we’ve been a bit unfortunate lately because Wycombe away, James Collins scored from that position, and he was onside, we really do believe that Potts’s goal from the weekend was onside too.”
When hearing it was a fifth goal for Potts that puts him third in the scoring charts behind Danny Hylton and Collins, Jones said: “Well, the others better chip in a bit, as I brought Luke Berry here, I thought he’d be on more by now!
“But we encourage him to get forward and to score more of the Blackpool type goals as they are attacking full backs.
“What he’s proved is he’s very potent, he’s as a good a header of the ball as there is in our team, he leaps well, but he has a real desire to get on the end of it.
“The boy’s had a couple of concussions at West Ham, so he puts his head in where it hurts and he’s in good form at the minute.
“I don’t care who scores, but I’m delighted he did.”
Meanwhile, team-mate Andrew Shinnie, who put Luton 1-0 in front on the evening, added: “We were just saying that from set-pieces, we should just let Pottsy go up himself and we’ll just stay back as the ball’s like a magnet to his head.
“Any time it goes in, it’s just straight on Potts and he’s a great header of the ball.
“He was unlucky on Saturday as I think his header was onside as well, so Pottsy could get quite a few goals this season.
“I wouldn’t want to be marking him as his leap’s unreal and he’s great at heading the ball as well, so he’ll get a lot more I think.”