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ProudHattersince74

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ProudHattersince74 last won the day on April 18

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  1. 4th or 5th would be ideal purely so we don't have to travel to some far flung outpost in midweek for the second leg. IF we do slip up and only scrape in at 6th or 7th then Exeter, Carlisle, Accrington, Blackpool, Colchester or Mansfield are not places I would relish visiting on a Thursday evening. As albhatter says, we are capable of beating anyone so it shouldn't matter who our opponents are - however, we are also capable of being beaten by anyone and the league table for this particular division invariably shows just how close everybody is to each other. If we manage to get a result at Accrington and one of those places is then secured then I would expect NJ to rest a few of the usual starters in order to give the fringe players a run out in case they're needed in the POs. One who I would like to see given a run out is Craig King in case he is called upon in the POs but, by the same context, Moore isn't that experienced so switching them around may be slightly counter-productive. After all, Andy Dibble didn't get a run out before the 1988 final and he did moderately okay on the day. BTW, does anyone know for certain whether Craig Mackail-Smith can or cannot be selected for the POs? I see that he's managed to score one or two goals at Posh and that their season finishes next Sunday, a week ahead of our own finale. If he IS allowed to play, he could even feature vs Morecambe. As he's in the shop window with his contract ending this summer, he may relish a run out in a televised PO game if we to suffer any serious injuries and/or suspensions to key players (HYLTON!)
  2. Going down? I was told that would be next season.
  3. I've felt like jumping out of a plane during some of the journeys home after the games. Good luck to him.
  4. Opinions differ and I must disagree that Potts "had a great on Saturday". I thought he did (only) moderately okay on Monday vs Mansfield but I felt he hampered the tempo of too many forays forward by breaking forward but then slowing down to walking pace (or stopping) and then having check back because the opposition defence had enough time to get back into position to challenge/pressurise him. Result: no real forward headway and the ball was usually played backwards to Sheehan or inside to Lee. As a WB, he must try to cross the ball every once in a while but it rarely got delivered as he didn't get far enough up the pitch despite playing in a wide midfield position rather than true LB position. Sheehan is, similarly, a tempo-stifler when he plays LB-cum-WB and it's entirely down the fact that they both have false right legs that are unable to kick a ball. Neither have turbo-pace to beat an opposition FB sufficiently to get past them to be able to use their better (only!) foot so crosses, when they do occur, are angled towards the penalty spot rather than curling away from the GK. Jack Senior for me any day of the week ... especially Mondays!!! Fully agree that Pelly should only be considered/selected for one position, otherwise he coughs up possession too easily - I found his games vs Orient and Mansfield highly frustrating when he had clearly forgotten how to control the ball (Orient) and pass the ball to a team-mate (both). Just when we needed to keep possession at the end of the match vs Mansfield he tried two blind 'round-the-corner' passes to team-mates who weren't actually there and only succeeded in putting our defence under unnecessary pressure. I still feel there is a very decent player in there who could cut it well above our present league, which isn't something that could be said about many of our squad - but he will only be able to show that if his head is in the right place and he needs his manager to play him in the central defensive midfield so he's doesn't become a liability. Move aside Mr Lee.
  5. Two superfluous words at the end there, Lake. One thing that did baffle me at Mansfield was that Palmer was able to use his physique to good effect whilst Vassell was not able to get the upper hand in any physical encounters and had very little chance to show clean heels to any defenders ... yet we know he can be Andre Gray-esque (muscle-wise) when battling alongside opposition defenders. Was it that Vassell's starting position (in relation to the defenders) was wrong whilst Palmer's was better or just that Palmer was fighting with already-tired defenders? Looking at Vassell's general running off the ball, he doesn't often try to check his runs and cut across the opposition defensive line either to drag them out of position or cause confusion as to who is supposed to be picking him up: it's usually a head down charge at the opposition goal which means he usually has at least one defender to beat as he's not running into spaces between them. I've no doubt that it will come with time but a bit surprised how one-dimensional his game can appear when we have Harford on the coaching staff. That noted, with barely scraps to feed on maybe the cause lies elsewhere.
  6. I'll take a point and be grateful after yet another slow first half that, barring the first couple of minutes, seemed aimed at containing the opposition rather than taking the game to them. Another ineffectual midfield despite having five in that department. For all the running and effort of our midfielders, they hardly ever take any opposition on with the ball at their feet and the passes are neither creative nor accurate enough for the forwards to make or gain any decent chances. NJ made reference to the fact that neither Hylton nor Vassell could get into the game - playing with 20 yards between themselves and 30 yards between them and midfield does kind of isolate them such that they then have to beat two or three defenders with very little support from the midfield cavalry, especially if Vassell has led a breakaway and the rest of the team are trying to catch up. Got to ask, but how on Earth does Gambin not get into our team? A ball carrier, willing to try to beat a man and willing to tackle. I found it interesting to listen to a more successful manager than NJ talking about his wing-back: instead of asking a FB to become a WB, he saw more logic in using a winger who was then willing to learn how to defend when necessary. Gambin was a winger before he arrived but, as we don't apparently do midfield width, maybe he could be converted into a WB ... although JJ and Senior would be my first choices for those roles from our current squad. Despite the rapid improvement of Vassell, I'd like to see Palmer given a bit more time on the pitch alongside Hylton. Palmer is playing for a contract and gave Mansfield's defenders a completely different challenge when he came on yesterday: all of a sudden we had someone willing to use his physicality against them and a couple of the struggled to cope after a fairly comfortable time vs Vassell and Hylton (who I'm sure has been re-programmed for these last few games so as not to pick up another yellow). IF (big "IF") Palmer was to play for longer then we'd need a crosser from wide even more than ever ... Gambin? Notts County is going to be a massive game IMO as the last two matches look dangerously like banana skins to me against teams we know to be physically robust. We may be difficult to beat but we also find it difficult to win and it's mathematically possible for us to be edged out even if we gain points from all three remaining games ... three draws isn't inconceivable given our style of play, current form and upcoming opposition, but will it be enough? As an aside, as we were leaving the ground we were discussing how many times we have started BOTH halves in the same league match on the front foot and struggled to remember any! If we're leading at HT, the opposition manager has usually given his team a roasting and we drop onto the back foot. If we're behind it's too often because we've started too slowly, then we become the ones to make the faster start to the second period. It may be a contributory factor in why we win one half 1-0 and lose the next 0-1 (or vice-versa) and gain so many sodding point-sapping draws! COYHFFS
  7. And I thought I had a dark sense of humour! Mind you, following Luton Town and having a sense of humour are mutually dependent.
  8. I would have thought that NJ is still pretty much an unproven commodity until he manages to gain a promotion and then ensures stability/consolidation in the league above. Having been burnt by their appointment of Manchester United's academy coach I very much doubt if Wigan will go for anyone who doesn't have a CV with a half decent record in the FL - I would have thought someone like Alex Neil is the sort of managerial fit they need rather than Jones. Bearing in mind that one of their previous coaches was Uwe Rossler, who ain't doing too shabbily at Fleetwood ATM, Wigan now look like the sort of impatient ex-Premiership club who will hire and fire until they stumble upon a candidate who can make a go of it. Gary Caldwell was unproven but achieved a promotion after succeeding Malky Mackay but they soon got rid of him when they started struggling in the Championship. With regard to NJ leaving in a hurry and leaving Hart to conduct the post-match interviews, NJ looked like he was about to explode as he went down the tunnel - Lord knows what his normal blood pressure might be, let alone after that debacle! Then again, maybe he wanted to make sure Cook's injury could be cured by a faith healer so he doesn't have to get rid of the pre-printed teamsheets that already have Cook's name on. Let's face it, if NJ and PH are a pair then Wigan would have probably ditched NJ after listening to the thoughts and ramblings of PH after the Orient game. No wonder the players were slow to start the second half if PH had any input into the HT talk. Sorry to have a dig at him but how could he inspire a team who needed inspiring? When he arrived I thought NJ/PH was going to be 'bad cop/even badder cop' routine and really get the fires lit in the players' bellies. The only thing warm in their bellies after a PH speech would be the cup of Horlicks that accompanies it. JS was called a footballing dinosaur by some fans when he struggled to adapt his lifelong style to suit 'modern' tactics used by opposition managers - PH falls must be close to being in that same bracket. As NJ's assistant, PH should be challenging every idea that NJ has ... does anyone believe that actually happens? If it does then why do we persist with a narrow bloody diamond formation that has allowed so many points to slip away so feebly?
  9. Will the good player lurking within Cook please take one step forward? I could live with Cook's continual selection if he was able to put himself about when his touch is lacking ... almost mimicking Smudger who is always willing to cover the ground even if he hasn't the technical ability of many of his team-mates. However, instead of making sure he involves himself in some capacity, Cook has too often been nigh on invisible. Quite how or why Cook has maintained his 'statutory' selection is way beyond my ken and I haven't found a single Luton Town regular who understands quite why NJ persists when he contributes so little in meaningful matches - sod how good they look in training when the only opposition are our own squad! Cook was selected for the bench at Barnet despite not training all week - using the management mantra that they see who are the best players at training, how come Cook was better than, say, Bakinson in the lead up to that match? I confess to liking Pelly as a player as he can (albeit too infrequently) show his strength and dribbling ability, two qualities that are sorely missing in most games. But his best position is at the base of the diamond, even NJ has acknowledged that in interviews. Playing there he is continually involved and it doesn't allow his concentration to drift - so why weaken the team by making Pelly alternate from flank to flank? It's only to accommodate Lee and Cook within the diamond as far as I can see but it sacrifices one of our real strengths. That said, Pelly was obviously trying out a new pair of legs vs Orient and they really need returning to the park footballer fro whom they were borrowed. Wimbo, much though I'd love the law of averages to benefit us in the POs, I believe we're still waiting on the delivery of the winning streak that NJ suggested was due to us ... also based upon the same law of averages. Unless, of course, the courier delivers the winning streak after we've played Morecambe.
  10. I thought there were conditions/restrictions on who can/can't be used in the last few weeks of a season, especially when it comes to PO matches. Even if we were able to recall CMS, it may possibly be more advantageous to us if we were to recall McQuoid from Stevenage ... if only to mess up their post-season plans. IIRC, NJ has lost every game vs Stevenage so far so I don't really want to play them at any time before August. That noted, neither club are assured of PO involvement ATM with three or four other teams just creeping up on the PO berths. Too many twists left to predict who we'll struggle against face before next season. Anywaysup, if Hylton and Vassell were unavailable it would give us a Palmer/Marriott front line with, presumably, Cook (fit or otherwise) in the no. 10 role. You can almost hear the opposition defenders quaking in their boots already.
  11. At the Meet the Manager event, NJ was surprisingly confident of promotion and made the point hat he wouldn't need to sweep clean and appoint many faces as the squad he has already assembled was full of players who are good enough for L1. Remember, though, that this event was two days before we lost so poorly to Stevenage and, effectively, started to drop (nay, plummet) away from the automatic promotion places just when they were within reach. Sorry, Nathan, but the last few games have shown me that the current crop of players have neither the fire in their bellies nor abilities required to sustain a season in L1. In the Checkatrade games we managed to beat Chesterfield (who are already coming down to L2), Swindon (who are likely to joint them) and Gillingham (who are just above the relegation zone thanks to two injury time goals vs Bristol Rovers yesterday). The SF game vs Oxford showed us what would really be needed to become a mid-table L1 club and I'm sorry to say that, on the night, they were better, stronger, faster and more organised despite the fact that we nearly managed to take it to penalties. But let's credit to NJ where it's due: not one of those teams embarrassed us as Posh had done when we played them under JS in the FAC. At that point we were light years behind a middle-L1 team and it was utterly embarrassing to see the gulf in class, fitness, organisation and motivation ... and that was when Graham Westley was their manager! Whilst we aren't quite as bad now, I still feel that we would struggle to avoid a long relegation battle in L1 if NJ didn't sign quite a number of very decent additions to the squad. As noted by Wimbo, I would also look at the role of NJ's sidekicks* as he would hit yet another learning curve in a division in which he has no experience. The diamond may work in academy football but I haven't a clue whether it would in L1 and it certainly doesn't in L2 ... at least, it doesn't with our current players. If we remain in L2 then I still recon NJ will need to sign quite a number of replacements who are better suited to this league: some brick outhouse-sized players at both ends of the team to take care of the set pieces would be a start. Alternatively, forget about promotion for another season or two and make use of the youngsters starting to emerge from our academy - long term this may be a better strategy than struggling in and getting relegated from L1, especially if NJ feels obligated to sign mercenary journeymen in the January transfer window to try to preserve L1 status. * Talking of NJ's assistants, I see that Kevin Nugent has already parted ways with Barnet ... I think that's three roles that he has been dismissed from in less than one season since leaving Luton to join Charlton.
  12. Not quite sure who has lost their way the most: the manager, the coaching staff or the players. It was so utterly disjointed and so half-hearted that it's almost laughable that we are still clinging on to 4th spot. Are we really the fourth best team in this division? We sorely needed an 'enforcer' on the pitch to gee everybody up cos our more senior players (and captain) certainly didn't look like they were trying to zap any life or inspiration into their younger team-mates. The only time they seemed to communicate was when they were apportioning blame and pointing fingers at each other for the ever increasing number of mistakes. As for our players' movement, it was non-bloody-existent. When Gambin was being pursued by four Orient players at one point and being shepherded towards the sideline, not a single Luton player bothered to try to go and help him. One-for-all and all-for-one? I've seen better movement in junior football. One comment by a guy sitting near me as the match kicked off was that at least Orient were relatively small and wouldn't win many headers against our CBs - yet their forwards won a damned sight more meaningful headers than our forwards and the flicked on balls hurt us more than ours hurt them as their forwards were pacy and willing to chase anything and everything ... Marriott didn't make any of Hylton's handful of flick-ons at all. You have to believe that NJ will never ditch the diamond formation but the bottom team in the whole FL (by some margin) ran around our midfield simply by using the flanks. If they can do it with such consummate ease, WTF will PO teams do against us? Oh and by typing "PO", it assumes that we don't hit another patch of quicksand akin to that in March when draws and points were hard to come by, let alone wins - after today's 'performance' and last week's scrappy affair at Barnet, I'm more acutely aware that we have absolutely nothing sewn up.
  13. That sounds like a perfect weekend spoiled by a game of football.
  14. Who needs Olly Palmer when there are clearly going to be barely enough places to go round? Cometh the hour, cometh the man ... back from injury. Yay! "Sometimes you just need that rub of the green to get in or a manager that believes in you, and luckily I've got a manager here who believes in me massively. "I'm always going to say I want to play, but the doctor said maybe miss a game to give it a bit of a rest. But there's nothing better than having something to fight for at the end of the season, and I want to be involved in everything." Read more at http://www.bedfordshire-news.co.uk/luton-star-admits-to-frustration-at-his-own-performances/story-30260928-detail/story.html#dIYuVzEklU5ZwD0v.99 http://www.hattersnews.co.uk/LTFC.php?ID=9953
  15. Just seen that Stuart Moore made the EFL team of the week. Back to Reading tomorrow, then, to show Al Habsi how not to concede six in one half.

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