Shea: Hatters squad were fully prepared for a tough campaign in the Championship

James Shea celebrates beating Charlton 2-1 on Tuesday night
James Shea celebrates beating Charlton 2-1 on Tuesday night

Luton’s players were fully prepared for the toughest of seasons in the Championship this term, according to keeper James Shea.

Since the 28-year-old signed from AFC Wimbledon in July 2017, he has been part of a squad where winning has become second nature.

The first campaign in League Two saw Luton pick up 25 victories, with eight defeats.

It got even better when a level up in League One last term, the Hatters securing 27 victories and losing just six times, none of those coming at home.

That made for an overall record of 52 successes and only 14 defeats, but the chance of repeating a similar ratio in the Championship was always wishful thinking.

It has proved the case too, in Luton’s opening 18 games of the campaign, they have already been beaten 11 times, the latest seeing Leeds United triumph 2-1 at Kenilworth Road on Saturday, a fourth home setback for Town.

On the difference, Shea said: “I think that’s the biggest thing for us, the last couple of years, all we’ve done is pretty much win every other week.

“This year, we knew it wasn’t going to be like that and we weren’t going to win every single week, but it’s a tough league.

“You’ve got to expect you’re going to lose games, you just want to put in a good performance and hopefully get something.

“If you can get wins when you matter, you can climb up that table."

Team-mate James Collins was of a similar opinion, but believes the unity remains in the squad to make it successful season at Kenilworth Road.

He said: “We knew coming into this league it wouldn’t be easy, we are the underdogs most weeks, but we’ve got a good set of lads and a good unit, we stick together.

“It’s only us that are going to get out of this situation, so we need to keep sticking together and I’m sure once we get that win, we’ll go on a roll.”

Town showed definite signs of improvement during the weekend’s loss to Leeds, with a far better display that what had been served up in the 3-0 defeat at Reading before the international break.

They carried it on to the midweek clash with Charlton, ending their losing by triumphing over the Addicks 2-1.

Shea felt that the time off had helped his side, saying: “Probably it did.

“We knew after Reading it wasn’t good enough and those performances won’t keep us up.

“We knew we had to work hard on the training pitch to perform the way we want to and perform at this level.

“It probably did come at a good time for us so we could get some good work done.

“We knew we were probably coming up against the best team in the league in Leeds, the most physical team as well.

"They run all day, so we knew we had to work hard, we did a lot of work on the training pitch and it showed.

“We had a tough week fitness wise, every single day and the training has gone up on-told at the minute.

“You can see how it worked, it was just a shame we couldn’t last for another three or four minutes.

“Everyone put in a good performance, we knew we were going to be under the cosh a little bit.

“It’s Leeds, it’s a good team, you’ve got to give them a little bit of respect and I thought the boys were great.”

That was also echoed by Collins too although he had a slightly different fortnight to his team-mates, spending most of it with the Ireland squad in Dublin for their matches against New Zealand and Denmark.

He added: “I think it’s exactly what we needed.

“We know that the Reading game wasn’t good enough by all of us, its not acceptable.

“We had a 13 day break and that all led up to Leeds.

“I was away, but that was good for me to get away.

"I know the lads had a few days off, they needed to refresh, as Saturday you’ve seen how much that break did do for everybody.”