'Smiling' Adebayo reaping the rewards after scoring five in five according to Luton assistant

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Forward up to eight for the season now

Town forward Elijah Adebayo is now reaping the rewards for playing with a smile on his face according to assistant boss Paul Trollope.

The 25-year-old, who had scored 17 goals last season, struggled earlier on in the campaign, finding the net just three times in his first 20 outings.

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When Rob Edwards took over from Nathan Jones, he immediately put his backing behind the former Fulham and Walsall striker, starting him in every Championship match when fully fit, on the bench for the 3-0 win at QPR over the Christmas period due to a slight injury.

Elijah Adebayo celebrates his winner against Cardiff CityElijah Adebayo celebrates his winner against Cardiff City
Elijah Adebayo celebrates his winner against Cardiff City

Although he wasn’t on target in his first four outings for the new manager, Adebayo then found the net with a thumping header in the 3-2 defeat to WBA.

That was the start of a terrific fun of form, with the striker scoring in his last five matches, moving up to eight for the campaign and beginning to look like the player he was last term, courted by a number of top clubs both in England and abroad.

Discussing his excellent return, Trollope said: “We work as a group, we make sure that where things need to improve we address it, whether that’s the back-line, midfield unit, or the front.

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"Elijah is doing it himself, he’s showing a great attitude, a great application and he’s smiling now.

"He’s smiling, he’s certainly enjoying his football, which you hope he would after scoring five in five, so his trick now is to maintain his level.

"He is capable, we’ve seen that previously and at other clubs, so we’re pleased with his contributions.

"We always work hard with the players to try and stretch them, that’s why we’re here, we’re here to help improve individuals to help the team.”

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Adebayo had missed a penalty with 20 minutes to go against Cardiff in midweek, before notching a late header to ensure the Hatters beat the Bluebirds at home for the first time since Boxing Day 2002, a run spanning five matches.

Although never an eye-catching contest, Trollope thought it showed Town proved they have a number of facets to their game, adding: “There’s more than one way to win a game of football.

"Of course we’d like to play beautiful, expansive football that you win comfortably, score goals, keep a clean sheet every week and I’m sure every team would like to do that, but the reality of it is, there are different ways to win.

"We’ve had some quite impressive, controlling performances since we’ve been in.

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"We’ve also shown other ways to win, like Wigan away, Huddersfield and the other night showed that as well.

"I think we had control of the game for long spells, but probably weren’t aggressive enough at times in our play.

"We found that aggression as the game grew on and I thought despite them causing us a few concerns on counter attacks, we were worthy winners.

"We know the division, we’ve got respect of the division and respect of the opposition and the qualities that they have, but we’re very much aware of it rather than concerned about it.

"We want to be brave, we want to be positive, we want to be a front foot team and that’s what we’ll continue to do.”