New-boy keen for start against former club
Luton’s new number nine Jon Shaw is hoping his goal versus Leyton Orient will stand him in good stead as he presses for a starting spot against former side Gateshead in the season’s opener on Saturday.
The Sheffield born centre-forward found the net 28 times in the Blue Square Bet Premier for the Heed during the previous campaign, but knows he faces strong competition for the striker’s role from fellow forwards Andre Gray, Stuart Fleetwood and summer capture Scott Rendell.
After missing out on the majority of Town’s pre-season fixtures through injury, Shaw was relieved to get off the mark against the O’s and come off the field without any niggles.
“It has been frustrating, I did the first three weeks of pre-season fine after having a hernia operation in the summer, so I was actually quite happy with my fitness, and then to have a week out where we had four games it seemed like I was out forever and it frustrated myself”, he said.
“To come out of the game unscathed, with a goal and a win, it couldn’t really have been any better.”
The dust had barely settled on the victory in the Hatters’ warm-up game before attention turned to the possibility of Shaw lining up against his old team-mates. However, Shaw was keen to put the game in context with Luton’s ultimate goal this season – the Conference title.
He said: “Obviously you’re going to have to play them at some stage in the season when you stay in the same league and what better way to start. They’ll come off fresh off pre-season, they’ve had a couple of good results and they try and play the right way, they’re a great footballing outfit and I’m looking forward to seeing them.
“I keep an eye out for what they’re doing and I text message and I talk to their captain Ben Clark. We’re still good friends and we had a little giggle when we first saw the fixtures.
“I obviously do know how they play after being there, Ian Bogie believes strongly in the way they play and the way he puts his teams out. But I think this season it’s about how we play, if we’re going to win we have to impose ourselves on whoever it is, no matter who comes through the door.
“I know after a season like last season people automatically expect you’re going to carrying on scoring goals. Nothing’s a sure thing, nothing’s definite when you sign in football, but I’ll be giving it everything I possibly can, in training and at the club to try and emulate that and obviously score as many as I can. Let’s start the season, let’s get the club to the top of it and let’s hopefully win the league, regardless of who scores the goals.”
Some of Luton’s most celebrated heroes have been target men, and although keen to distance himself from comparisons to the likes of Steve Howard, Shaw revealed how he hopes his old-fashioned style will go down well with supporters.
“I think in today’s football I’m a bit of a dying breed, everyone obviously wants a Messi – an Andre Gray – they get the ball down, they run, they’re exciting. But what I try and tell the lads when I go to a new club is that I’m an out ball, if you’re struggling, I’ll be there to aim at, it works when you need it, and I’m also there to come and hold the ball.
“Obviously it’s nice to be likened to people like Steve Howard, but he was in a completely different league to me and f I can score anywhere near the amount of goals he did, I’m sure it’ll work for me at the club.”
With prospect of running out in front of 7,000-plus fans at Kenilworth Road on Saturday nearly upon him, Shaw admitted his excitement at being backed by a vociferous home support.
“I must admit it is a big draw – I’ve spent a lot of years now at places with small crowds, I got used to it been playing in this league for a while, no matter where you go, but coming to Kenilworth obviously for every other club it’s like a cup final.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve had that many fans on my side, so I’m hoping this week a lot of them turn up and they rock the place ready for the season.”