'Rocky' few years are over as former Stoke and Charlton winger Doughty insists it's his time to shine now

Alfie Doughty gets a hug from Tom Lockyer after his magnificent strike on Thursday nightAlfie Doughty gets a hug from Tom Lockyer after his magnificent strike on Thursday night
Alfie Doughty gets a hug from Tom Lockyer after his magnificent strike on Thursday night
Eight starts already for summer signing at Kenilworth Road

Hatters winger Alfie Doughty believes he is finally over his ‘rocky’ last two years as a footballer as he is starting to rediscover what looks like his best form for Luton.

The 23-year-old had a tough time of it with injuries while at Charlton, as his best season was back in the 2019-20 campaign when he began to announce himself when making 20 starts in the second tier.

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The following term, with the Addicks relegated to League One, he made just eight, while a disappointing move to Stoke City in January 2021 saw Doughty never actually begin a Championship encounter for the Potters.

Last season he had a loan move to Cardiff City, which was also curtailed by injury after seven starts, as he was snapped up by the Hatters for an undisclosed fee in the summer.

Sidelined at the start though due to a hamstring problem, he eventually made his way back, handed his debut in the 1-0 win at Norwich City on October 18 and hasn’t really looked back since.

Thursday night’s 3-0 win at QPR represented an eighth start in 10 matches, a personal best since his spell at the Valley, as Doughty said: “I’ve had a rocky two years with football.

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"This is probably my eighth start recently and I’m just taking every game as it is, just showing, this is what I can do and this is my time really.

“Three over Christmas, it’s not what you need, but two wins, six points, we’re just going to go into Huddersfield with real confidence.”

Although making his name as a flying winger, Doughy has been used primarily in a deeper wingback role during his short Luton career so far.

Injuries have meant he has popped up on both flanks too, with Thursday night a case in point, starting on the right before Dan Potts had to go off and Town’s almost inevitable defensive reshuffle these days saw him end the contest on the left.

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It mattered little, Doughty crashing in an absolute belter for his first ever Town goal in the closing stages, as he continued: “We got a red (against Norwich), so I need to fill in certain places.

“We just tucked Breeser (James Bree) in and I can go on the right, I don’t mind it, it’s just a position and you’ve got to keep on playing.

“That’s what’s so good about this team, wherever we play we know that we can just do a job.

"I know at the moment we’re down on a few centre halves and maybe a few midfielders, but I think as long as we all work hard like you’ve seen, everyone has put a shift in, and you get results from it.

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"It doesn’t have to be the prettiest game, but as long as you work hard, that’s all you need.

“The manager believes in me and whatever side I’m on, he knows I can play on my right, knows I can play off my left.

"If I have to go on the right I’ll go on the right and if it’s the left, I’ll go on the left.

"Luckily I went on the left and got the goal, so I can’t really complain.”

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Since new manager Rob Edwards has come in, Doughty has been included in all three matches so far and has really stepped his game up, assisting Carlton Morris’s opener during the rare Loftus Road triumph with a burst down the right wing.

On whether there has been a noticeable difference between Edwards and his predecessor Nathan Jones, he said: “The gaffer has come in and we’ve all respected him straight away.

"He just tells us that he’s not going to intrude, he knows what we’re capable of and we’re just showing our belief in him.

“The first game was uncomfortable to talk about, but these last two games just shows what it means to him and all the other players.”

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And while the only goal that Doughty wasn’t directly involved in on Thursday was Morris’s second, the forward prodding home James Bree’s free kick from close range, it was the most important strike of the evening according to the winger, as it came just moments into the second period.

He added: “That second goal I think was perfect.

"The third goal was good to settle, but think that second was probably the most important one as it was right after the break.

"They’re probably trying to come out and stop us, get back into the game, but when we got that goal we had, not a sight of relief, but we knew that let’s control this game now.”