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6 June 2013

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Midfielder's delight at new contract

Matt Robinson jokes that he’s got used to living out of his car and out of hotels for the past 12 months.

Having moved to Luton from Leicester last summer, where he’d spent all of the previous 18 years of his life, it was a new life experience for the midfielder.

Like any young footballer, moving to a new club – and to a new town – can be difficult. And, at times last season, Robinson admitted it was tough.

Restricted to bit-part substitute appearances and the odd run-out in the FA Trophy, by the time John Still was appointed boss in March, Robinson had made just seven appearance for the Hatters and only two of those were starts and those came against Dorchester and Skelmersdale in the Trophy.

However, the teenage former Fox was impressing the new boss as he began to sift through his squad’s capabilities. In March he was back among the 16 and on the bench. And then, on April Fool’s Day Robinson got his first league start – against the then league leaders Kidderminster.

A further five starts and one substitute appearance followed, as did any young players’ never-forget-moment: a first senior goal, coming in the 3-1 last-day-of-the-season win at Southport.

“It was the happiest moment of my football-playing life,” grins Robinson, talking to Hatters Player. “To be in the team and to score my first goal in league football was very important to me.”

Having ended the season on such a high then came and “overwhelming” bolt out of the blue from the manager – an extended contract, signed this week which will keep him at Kenilworth Road until 2015.

“Last year there were plenty of ups and downs but conveniently for me my ups came when the new gaffer came in,” continues Robinson with a wide smile. “In all honesty to be rewarded with a new contract is a bit overwhelming.

“I knew nothing about it until the manager said he wanted to have me here longer, and – put it this way – I wasn’t going to say no! I’m very happy here and I want to be a part of a team that can win promotion next season.”

With first team appearances few and far between until Still’s arrival, Robinson kept his head down and remained positive.

“If you don’t have faith in yourself nobody else will,” he says philosophically. “I always had belief in myself, telling myself that I was good enough.

“A lot of people around me were saying ‘stay patient’. I’m not an impatient person, just easily frustrated. I used to dwell on things and think to myself ‘I should have done this, why didn’t I do that?’ but this season I just kept going.

“I’ve matured as a person and as a player in the last year and that’s a credit to the people around me: the senior players who are able to put their arm around my shoulder and advise me. It’s good to have team-mates that are helpful on or off the field.

“Moving from Leicester was a big change but change is part of life. It’s all about saying positive.”

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