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28 September 2012

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Manager looks ahead to Southport test

Town boss Paul Buckle hopes his side can continue from where they left off on Tuesday night against Tamworth when they welcome Southport to Kenilworth Road on Saturday.

The Hatters bounced back to winnings way after three games without a win by recording a 2-1 victory against the Lambs and Buckle will send his team out to get on the front foot against the Sandgrounders tomorrow.

“I was delighted with the lads the other night, spirit is a big thing in football and when you go behind you really see who you can count on,” Buckle told the media at his pre-match press conference on Thursday.

“Maybe Southport will come to Luton and try to keep us quiet early on to get the crowd on our back – but that's not going to happen. The crowd have been brilliant so far this season.”

With many sides content on playing for a point when they travel to Kenilworth Road, all the boss wants is for his side to go out and play the way he knows they can.

He said: “It’s up to us, we know we've got to set the tone early on by setting the tempo and we've got to take the game to them.” 

The boss paid tribute to top goalscorer Stuart Fleetwood after the 26-year-old came off the bench to score one and set another up in the win at Tamworth.

“Stuart's the one who's got the goals and deserves a lot of credit,” said Buckle. “It’s humble he wants to share that credit around. 

“He will be the first to say that the boys around him have all put in a real shift to create the chances for him, but there's no doubt about it he showed again the other night he knows where the goal is.”

Yesterday, Buckle delved into the loan market to capture Guiseley captain Simon Ainge on a month’s loan.

The centre-half is likely to be included in the squad to face the Sandgrounders, and Buckle was delighted to be able to bring the 24-year-old to Kenilworth Road.

“We've been looking at him for a few weeks now,” said the boss. “I'm pleased to have him sign on loan which gives us a chance to look at him closer.

“In this league there are a lot of balls kicked up at you aerially and its somewhere we need to improve on – and Simon can help us with that.

“He's very hungry and as an example you've seen what we've done as a club with Andre Gray when bringing him up from a lower league and with his involvement in the England C set up he really wanted to come to Luton.”

Ainge’s arrival gives the Town plenty of options in defence but Buckle explained that doesn’t necessarily mean the end of Connor Essam’s stay at Kenilworth Road, whose loan is due to expire after Saturday’s game.

“The Southport game is the last of Connor’s loan but we are in talks with Gillingham over that now, so no that doesn't mean the end for him.”

While Essam's future remains uncertain, the Town sent Greg Taylor and Adam Watkins out on loan to Tamworth and Kidderminster respectively with Buckle hoping the pair get more game time.

“I'm pleased for them, but it’s a tough call,” he said. “You don't want players not playing so Adam goes out for a month gets some football in him and then he will come back and try and get his place back in the team and its very much the same for Greg.”

Buckle also explained that one member of the side that was involved in the victory at Tamworth maybe missing through injury on Saturday.

While it remains to be seen who, and the extent of the problem, the boss will still be without James Dance, Danny Spiller and Garry Richards through injury.

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