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12 January 2013

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Boss on third round late show

Boss Paul Buckle was relieved his much-changed side were not on the end of a cup shock as two late goals earned the Town a quarter-final place in the FA Trophy.

The manager made eight changes to the side that beat Barrow 6-1 on Tuesday but it was two late goals from substitutes – Adam Watkins and Andre Gray – that left Buckle pleased.

“Before the game I always knew it was going to be difficult,” he told Hatters Player. “We were fully aware that we had players coming in out of the cold, and we knew they were going to be dangerous because they haven't lost this season.

“You could see that – Skelmersdale are a good side; one of the bravest we have seen come to Kenilworth Road this season because they came and attacked us.”

Gray was introduced at half-time whilst Watkins was brought on mid-way through the second period and it was their quality that was enough to win it in the end.

“We struggled to create many clear cut chances,” Buckle said. “But it shows after our patience that we've got the quality to go on and win.

“Adam's had a tough time this season but I'm delighted he's scored and I'm sure he'll be pleased. Then Stuart Fleetwood's aware enough to set-up Andre and we've put it to bed late on.”

It remains to be seen when the Hatters will face their quarter-final opponents as the date for that tie is due to clash with the FA Cup fixture with Norwich.

But Buckle was just happy that his side avoided a rematch with Skem on Tuesday.

“A draw and a replay would have been the last thing we would have wanted,” said the manager. “But I'm proud of the players. We're a step closer to Wembley, which can't be sniffed at.

“It was a potential banana skin today after the highs of the Barrow and Wolves games but we've deserved to go through.”

The quarter-final draw will take place on Monday.

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