Wilkinson expected to return against Stanley

Hatters defender Luke Wilkinson is expected to regain his place in the heart of Town’s back-line against Accrington Stanley this weekend.

By Mike Simmonds
Thursday, 26th February 2015, 1:52 pm
Luke Wilkinson
Luke Wilkinson

The summer signing from Dagenham & Redbridge has missed the last two games due to suspension but is now available as boss John Still said: “I haven’t made my mind up yet, chances are yes, I’m not saying definitely, but probably.”

Alex Lacey and Fraser Franks have deputised for Wilkinson and club captain Steve McNulty after both have been banned, with Still admitting they might not be the right pairing going forward.

He continued: “I actually feel sorry for some of the players who have come in. Lacey has played in the team and done well, Franks has played in the team and done well, but maybe they weren’t the combination together.

“That happens sometimes and I’m big on combinations. Fraser’s played with Wilko and Macca and been successful, Lacey’s done the same successfully.

“When you think on Saturday, that diamond of goalkeeper, left sided centre half, right sided centre half, centre midfield player, that’s been the fulcrum of our our defensive unit, we didn’t have.

“That’s really hard. Elliot (Justham) came in and did well, but the understanding and combination takes them time.”

Keeper Mark Tyler is another who should retain his place against Stanley, although should his injury keep him out, Still was impressed by replacement Justham.

On Tyler, he said: “Probably, probably is the nearest I can tell you. Elliot did very well on Saturday, so I’ve got no problems with Elliot.

“Considering he had two people playing together in the first team their second game, Doyley (Nathan Doyle) who’s a defensive midfield player not playing, I thought he did remarkably.”

Striker Paul Benson isn’t ready to be included despite playing the full 90 minutes against Leyton Orient in a development game on Tuesday afternoon.

Alex Lawless did the same, although forward Alex Wall picked up an injury and Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu remains out.

Still said: “He (Benson) needs another game or two, to get himself back to the levels we would expect. He did 90, I wasn’t sure he would, so that’s a plus.

“Lawless has been out for so long, he probably needs another development game to be a starter. If you push people and it’s too early, we’ll just take time to make sure it’s nailed on

“He’s (Wall) not bad, he didn’t train today, but I don’t think it’s terrible.

“Pelly should start training again next week. He’s had problems with that hamstring and every time you think it’s okay, its not quite.

“So we’ll have to look at that again, but I expect him to start pushing on in training next week.”

Winger Ryan Hall was back in training today after a bout of tonsillitis while Nathan Doyle may be a month away from return from his knee injury as Still added: “Ryan came in and got tonsillitis after a week. He missed quite a bit and is just back in training today.

“We’ve had a bit of good news (on Doyle), they’re now talking about four weeks rather than until the end of the season.

“So hopefully we’ll have him back.”