Shea praises Hatters defence as he keeps yet another clean sheet

Hatters keeper James SheaHatters keeper James Shea
Hatters keeper James Shea
Town goalkeeper James Shea was satisfied to rack up yet another clean sheet for the Hatters, his 20th of the season during Saturday’s 0-0 draw at Plymouth Argyle.

The shut out was Shea’s 25 in total for the Luton in just 51 appearances, as he reached the mini-milestone some 34 games quicker than he had managed at former club AFC Wimbledon.

He has only conceded 36 goals during his time with the club too, and made it another match without conceding during Tuesday night’s 1-0 win at Bradford City.

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On the number of blanks opposition sides have drawn so far, Shea said: “I didn’t realise it was that many until the other day.

“I only knew how many clean sheets I had this season, so just more the merrier really.

“I’d take it all day long, at my old club I didn’t get that many, it’s nice to keep a clean sheet.

“As long as the team can get the points, get the wins, that’s all that matters, I’d take 8-7 as long as we win, I don’t care what the score is.”

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The stopper was called into action only really once in the second half at Home Park, to deny Ruben Lameiras down to his right.

He had just the one effort to deal with in midweek, when David Ball raced through, as during Town’s record breaking 24 Football League game unbeaten run, Shea has faced just 72 shots on target, at an average of three a game.

He continued: “I didn’t have that much to do to be honest, quite like a lot of weeks.

“They’re the home team, they’re always going to start fast, start quick, and teams are going to have a spell when they’re on top,

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“They were on top for the first five, 10 minutes, they had one shot, nothing really 
major and I thought after that we grew into the game.

“I had one save if you can call it that, it was quite nice down to my right, so I had something to do. But it’s the defenders in front of me, they keep them away from me, and I haven’t had too much to do in the games so far.

“It’s another point on the board for us, a shame we couldn’t get the three, but we move on, as it’s a good point away from home.”

It wasn’t quite the same case at the other end with home keeper Matt Macey called into action on a number of occasions.

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The former Luton loanee, a close friend of Shea from their Arsenal days, with Macey on loan at Home Park from the Gunners, made a string of fine stops, as Shea said: “He’s a good mate of mine, although I’m gutted he couldn’t let one in today for us.

“It was just one of those thing, he had a great game to be fair to him.

“But it’s a good point at the end of the day, to come down here, we’re not just going to steamroll teams threes and fours. Matty’s had a good game, but we take the point.”

With Argyle kept at arm’s length for the majority, Shea was quick to praise his defence, including centre half Sonny Bradley, who was returning to his former side.

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He said: “He was immense, to be fair, he’s been like that all season hasn’t he.

“It’s a shame he hasn’t really got his goal yet, because Matty’s (Pearson) stole all the limelight with all the goals Matty’s getting.

“But Sonny and Matt have been solid in front of me and I can’t speak highly enough of them two.”

Despite having precious little to do, Shea didn’t worry about ever losing concentration in a match, saying: “Not really, you just try and stay in the game, try and organise.

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“When the ball is forward, try and organise the back players, try and get the right back or the left back, get them tucked in, so they can’t counter on us.

“There’s always something to do, just trying to keep on it and keep the boys on it.”

Town’s superb defensive record has been done without a number of their mainstays from last term, Alan Sheehan and Dan Potts.

The latter came on for the final stages on Saturday, impressing as he attack on the left hand side, ith Shea saying: “It’s crazy to think Pottsy’s on the bench at the minute, it’s unbelievable.

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“He was one of our best players last year and you see when he comes on, he doesn’t look out of place now.

“He’s solid going forward, he’s got a great engine, and to attack the ball, he’s unbelievable, the amount of goals he got last season, it doesn’t surprise you.”