Town set to stick, while York may twist with Walker return

LUTON look likely to stick with the same side that were held to a 1-1 home draw by Grimsby at the weekend when York City visit Kenilworth Road tomorrow night, writes Mark Wood.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 29th March 2012, 3:03 pm

Town have no new injury worries, while the Minstermen look set to welcome back maligned ex-Hatter Jason Walker, who has been troubled with a hamstring injury.

They are also likely to be able to call on Jamal Fyfield and Ben Gibson who have recovered from ankle injuries that kept them out of their 1-0 midweek win at Bath, but influential midfielder Scott Kerr is out for the season with a cruciate ligament injury that requires surgery following a challenge by Keith Keane in the recent 1-1 FA Trophy draw.

Hatters boss Gary Brabin said: “I was delighted with the performance and the attitude from the lads who played in the last game.

“And that’s certainly the type of form that we need from now until the end of the season and I would be confident in us cementing that play-off place. And I’m also confident we will get stronger from hereon in.”

On the injury situtaion, he continued: “It’s OK, there’s no change really. I think we’ve got over the one or two knocks we’ve had.

“And I think it’s pretty much the case of the same. We’ve had a reserve game and one or two people have come back in and been able to get 45 minutes or an hour under their belt and in some cases 90 minutes and that’s really good at this important stage in the season.”

Luton will be without the long-term injured trio of Amari Morgan-Smith, James Dance and Dan Gleeson, while Andre Boucaud will also be missing, as under the terms of his signing from York he is unable to play against City in this game.

Brabin continued: “He is unavailable and I think it’s been frustrating for Andre because he’s available, not available.

“It’s been two months now he’s been here and it’s been difficult for him to cement a place.

“That’s been frustrating for him, but he’s been good round the group in training and he’s helping the boys.

“And he’s got that little bit of experience as well which I think is vital and he’s part of the group and certainly got a lot of input between now and the end of the season.”

But he will be able to call upon new signing from Hinckley United, Andre Gray, who made a goalscoring debut against the Mariners.

Brabin said: “I think he certainly gives us a different dimension and I think that’s important.

“I think it’s something we’ve needed that raw attitude and pace.

“We’ve certainly been hindered in the attacking options. Amari was our form striker and at certain stages this season we’d hoped he would be back in the squad and fit.

“All our forwards we try and have them complement each other. But we’ve gone into games this season where we don’t feel like that’s been the case.

“Andre certainly comes in and gives us that different dimension and I think it will help the other forwards as well.”

Full-backs Ed Asafu-Adjaye and Greg Taylor look likely to remain sidelined, but Brabin was given a shot in the arm as Town’s reserves thrashed Oxford’s second string in midweek 5-2 with Aaron O’Connor and Dan Walker both netting braces.

Brabin said: “It was nice for them. It’s nice when the forwards are scoring goals and I thought it was a good test for them and I’m really pleased for them getting goals.”

A number of tackles also flew in, as Brabin continued: “I think that’s a good exercise for the lads who are playing in the reserve games because that’s what happens on a Saturday.

“I think that’s part and parcel of football and something they have to get used to.”

Town now face a remarkably busy run-in with seven games in 23 days and eight in 30.

The Town chief added: “This is a really important, crucial part of the season now. The games come thick and fast and that’s the way it is.

“With the extension of the FA Trophy and us getting to the semi-finals of that we’ve had to re-arrange and cancel a few games.

“We always knew it was going to be thick and fast at the end and that’s the case.”