Still factor was crucial for Mackail-Smith

Reuniting with John Still and his staff was a ‘big factor’ for Craig Mackail-Smith in signing for Luton amid summer overtures from clubs higher up the Football League.

By Jamie May
Wednesday, 5th August 2015, 9:30 am
Craig Mackail-Smith
Craig Mackail-Smith

The striker was not short of suitors this summer, with Southend, Notts County and an unnamed Championship side among a host of clubs hoping to capture him, but the 31-year-old remained at Luton throughout the pre-season before making his stay official on Saturday.

A two-year deal saw him rekindle his working relationship with Still, who gave Mackail-Smith his big professional break.

The manager took him from non-league Arlesey Town to Dagenham & Redbridge 11 years ago and from there the forward moved to Peterborough before becoming Brighton’s record signing, for £3.25million in 2011.

But a 13-month Achilles injury affected his time with the Seagulls who released him at the end of last term due to a disappointing goal return.

After asking to train with Hatters fitness coach Dave Richardson – a former Daggers man – Luton made him an offer to join them for the pre-season and the rest is history

Talking of his relationship with Town boss Still, Mackail-Smith said: “He knows me really well. He knows how I play and knows how to look after me.

“Him, Terry (Harris – assistant manager) and Dave Richardson, they know how to look after my body and get the best out of me. It was a big factor in me coming here and wanting to enjoy my football again and have a big smile on my face.”

Mackail-Smith, who became a Scottish international in the decade after first working under Still, admitted the manager’s temperament has changed, but not his talents.

“He’s calmed down a little bit. He’s not as mad as when I first met him,” the forward said, adding: “He still knows how to pick a player and how to get a team that wins.

“He’s assembled a fantastic squad this season and hopefully it can be a successful one and get promoted.”