Town top scorer Adebayo might be risked for 'winner takes all' play-off clash at Huddersfield

Forward has missed Luton’s last three matches

By Mike Simmonds
Monday, 16th May 2022, 8:57 am
Elijah Adebayo could be back for the game at Huddersfield this evening
Elijah Adebayo could be back for the game at Huddersfield this evening

With all to play for in tonight’s Championship play-off semi-final second leg tie at Huddersfield Town, and the prize of a place in the Premier League moving one step closer for the winner, Town boss Nathan Jones admitted he might well risk top scorer Elijah Adebayo.

The 24-year-old, who has 17 goals in all competitions this season, has been absent since the home match with Blackpool on April 23 after pulling his hamstring in the closing stages of the 1-1 draw.

After missing the 7-0 defeat to Fulham and 1-0 win over Reading, it was hoped that Adebayo would be available in the first leg on Friday night following some intensive treatment, but he wasn’t named on the teamsheet as both sides played out a 1-1 draw.

With this evening’s contest deciding who goes to Wembley to face either Nottingham Forest or Sheffield United, when asked if his talisman would be ready, Jones said: “We’ll see.

“Today (Friday) was too big a risk, because if he does play and something happens, then we don’t get him for Monday and anything further.

"But it’s a straight shoot-out, it’s winner takes all, so the risk might be worth it on Monday.”

Jones, who has recalled attacker Josh Neufville from his loan spell at Yeovil Town, insisted that the former Fulham and Walsall forward is doing all he can to try and play a part in the game, continuing: “He’s been in cryotherapy, been in oxygen chambers, done everything possible we could to try and get him to play.

"He’s a big talent, he’s a big player, so we’ve got to make sure it’s safe to do so.

“It’s (cryotherapy) slowing it and down and recovering, getting rid of lactic acid, it’s all the things that cold does, it’s one of the best natural healers.”

With Town suffering an awful injury list recently, losing Gabe Osho, James Shea and Pelly-Ruddock Mpnanzu for the season, with Henri Lansbury, Luke Berry, Fred Onyefinma and Admiral Muskwe doubts for this evening too, then it was natural for the likes of Jordan Clark to tire slightly on Friday, giving the fact he has just recovered from over a month out as well.

Jones knows that he can’t alter a great many things for the decider at the John Smith's Stadium, adding: “I wouldn’t say we were looking jaded, their shape caused us a little bit of a problem, we arrested that late on and then evened it up and finished strongly, so it wasn’t a problem.

“What the injury list does mean is we’ve got very little to really go at them and freshen up.

"If I’ve got Gabe Osho, Pelly-Ruddock, Luke Berry, Elijah Adebayo, Fred Onyedinma, Admiral Muskwe, available for Monday, then wow, we can go fresh, aggressive, front footed, we can’t do that.”