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12 August 2013

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Boss reflects on Southport and ahead to Tuesday night

John Still believed Saturday’s defeat at Southport was just “one of those things” as he looked ahead to Tuesday’s Kenilworth Road curtain-raiser with Salisbury City at Monday’s press conference.

The manager joked to begin with that he had “no new injuries from Saturday but a million problems” as he reflected on Saturday’s 1-0 defeat against Southport.

With the club awaiting on news of an appeal on Steve McNulty’s red card at the weekend, Still confirmed the squad had prepared for Tuesday’s game with and without the defender in training.
But, despite the disappointment of the weekend, the manager was philosophical about the result.

“The way I look at it was that individuals didn’t play well and the team didn’t perform very well,” Still said. “I said a few times over pre-season not to get carried away with the results and only go on what you see.

“I knew that we were fit and I knew we would be organised but we just played poorly. Sometimes you can look too deep into what went wrong. Other than a few free-kicks and when we were pushing forward at the end did Southport look like they were going to score. Andre Gray missed a great, great chance and Shaun missed a penalty. We could have been looking at a 2-1 win without playing well.

“But the fact is we didn’t play well and we never posed a threat ourselves until Andre came on. We had a long talk about it today [Monday]. I told the players that we would get beat again – this is football – but it’s about how we respond to defeat that matters most. Saturday was one of those things. There was their free-kick, the sending-off, the penalty, but that’s football.”

Tuesday’s Skrill Premier game with Salisbury gives the Town a chance to bounce back and while Still wants Kenilworth Road to become a fortress, he admitted he doesn’t mind where or how his team win – just as long as they do.

“What I’ve learned over the years is really, really simple: just get more points than the other teams. If we won 23 away games and only won five at home and won the league I’d be happy. I guess our home supporters probably wouldn’t be but I’m sure they’d be happy if we won the league. 

“Yes, it is always great to have a good home record. It’s a big thing because you’re playing in front of the majority of your supporters. But I’d rather get promoted winning games wherever rather than winning 23 games at home and not getting promoted.”

Salisbury visit Kenilworth Road having lost their season opener too. But Still is confident his team can kick-start their campaign and get their first points on the board.

“The reason I have kept the players I wanted to and bought the players I have is because I believe they can handle the expectation of playing for Luton Town,” he said.

“I’m looking for players to perform to the level that is expected of them. They didn’t on Saturday but I hope they will tomorrow.”

Jon Shaw, Ronnie Henry and Alex Lawless all missed Saturday’s defeat and Still hopes to have the trio back as soon as possible.

He said: “Jon trained on Monday but we haven’t pushed him and we’ll look at him again on Tuesday. Ronnie’s not available for Tuesday. His back went into spasm and he’s been to see the chiropractor and he probably needs a few days, and he could be back on Saturday.

“Alex could be back on the bench on Tuesday, but we’ll wait and see.”

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