Still believes Bees clash has extra spice

John Still
John Still

Hatters boss John Still is looking forward to locking horns with old friend Martin Allen when his side entertain Barnet this afternoon.

The pair have a close relationship off the field, with Allen mentioning in the press this week how Still helped him put together a side that were capable of winning the Conference last season and return to the Football League.

Still said: “He’s a good friend, Martin’s going to come here all guns blazing, no doubt about that.

“They’ve had a solid start for their first year, it’s going to be a very competitive game, but I think that will make it a very good game.

“It’s a local derby-ish and they always give games a little bit more.

“My friendship with Martin, the fact that I’ve managed the club as well, my friendship with the chairman, are all ingredients to make it a feisty affair.”

It’s not just in the dugouts there will be a familiar face for Still as two of his former players, John Akinde and Gavin Hoyte, whom he signed when in charge of former club Dagenham & Redbridge, are in the Bees team.

He continued: “John is a great lad, he did really well there and Gavin’s another one, he did good for me too, he was a good, steady player.

“Both of them great lads and like all your old players, it’s always good to see them and not just see them, see them doing well.”

After a sticky start, the Bees have hit form in recent weeks, with four wins from five.

It hasn’t surprised the Luton chief, who was in charge of the Bees earlier in his career, though as he said: “They’ve come in and bedded in well, they’re hard working, and will they be happy to keep away from the bottom half? I don’t think they will be.

“I think their ambitions will be more than that, as we know, if you win the Conference, you’re a good side, I’m telling you.

“We finished one off the play-offs last year, they’ve brought in some good players, they really have and have probably invested more than Barnet ever have done before as I don’t think they want to tinker with that National League.

“I think the chairman realises that and they’ve invested more heavily than they have previously.

“They’ll be a test for anybody and was I surprised they beat Blackpool (in the FA Cup)? Not at all. I thought they would win it.”