O'Donnell demands that Luton make a statement

Luton defender Stephen O'Donnell has urged his side to lay a marker down for next season in their final five games of the current campaign.

Stephen O'Donnell charges forward against Dagenham
Stephen O'Donnell charges forward against Dagenham

Tuesday night’s narrow 1-0 win over virtually relegated Dagenham & Redbridge saw Luton gain ground on the top seven, although with six points between them and AFC Wimbledon with only 15 to play for, a play-off berth remains a steep ask at best.

Despite not completely giving up hope, O’Donnell wants any form garnered now to be taken into next term, as he said: “You get closer and then it gets further away, it’s strange and very frustrating for a player.

“Until it’s mathematically impossible, we’re still hoping and we need to be putting the pressure on, but we’ve put ourselves in this position which isn’t good enough.

“We need to make sure we’re winning the games and if the teams above lose, great, but we need to focus on performances, clean sheets, taking our chances and then see where that takes us.

“If that takes us into the play-offs, unbelievable and I’ll be jumping for the heavens, but if it doesn’t, we’ll be making sure we’re building for next season.

“No matter what, I think this gaffer has got huge potential for us to be a great team and wouldn’t it be nice to go on a run until the end of the season.

“Whether that gets us into the play-offs or just momentum for next season and really put down a statement that we’re there to be shot at, we’re going to be at the top of the league all season. So if it doesn’t come off this season, that will be the aim.”

O’Donnell did concede that this season had been far from good enough from the players though as they sit in 14th position and travel to an Oxford United side on Saturday who are chasing automatic promotion themselves.

He added: “As a team we have underachieved. If we want to show we’re good enough, there’s no point claiming we’re good enough, or players thinking we’re above a level, we need to go and prove against the lesser teams no disrespect to Dagenham, they’re bottom of the league, and then the top teams.

“It’s the top we want to be involved in, the top kind of battle and recently we’ve done quite well, Plymouth, Leyton Orient. We’ve slightly defended a bit more, but done our job, kept a clean sheet and got 1-0 wins.

“So lets hope for the same, to win 1-0 again, go and do our jobs and show the fans this season isn’t over yet.

“The players are giving everything every day in training, the manager’s giving everything and hopefully we can build for the rest of this season and next season.”