First team coach Hakan Hayrettin was delighted with the Town development squad’s 2-1 win over West Ham United at Kenilworth Road on Tuesday night.
Two excellent first-half goals from Jim Stevenson got the Hatters on their way before a late penalty save from Elliot Justham secured a ninth victory in 10 matches this season for Hayrettin’s side.
“It was a nice compliment that West Ham wanted to play us again,” Hayrettin told lutontown.co.uk. “West Ham fielded a stronger side than last time which is a testament to what we’ve been doing.
“Seven or eight of our players have played first team football for us this season and the attitude of the lads was fantastic, and that not only showed in the result but the performance too.
“It is my job to assist in the development of the players but also to make sure they are ready for first team football when they are needed by the manager.
“The performance was professional, we worked hard and we showed lots of desire. It was what I’d call a proper football match: two good teams playing football the right way with enthusiasm and hard work.
“It’s another win and winning’s a good habit, no matter what level you’re playing at. We want to install that winning mentality right the way through the club and that is showing in our results this season.
“We want to do things the right way. We want to keep all the players in the squad on their toes. We treat these games no different to any first team match and I think our approach is paying dividends.”
Despite the result, injuries to goal hero Stevenson and Alex Wall took the gloss off of the fine victory.
Stevenson limped off midway through the second period with a foot injury, whilst striker Wall only last three minutes after pulling up with a hamstring injury.
“We’re waiting on news on Alex, but Jim should be okay,” said Hayrettin. “He took a bit of a bang but he should be alright.
“Jim took his goals, really, really well. He’s showing the reason why the manager brought him to the football club in the first place.
“In pre-season I think he was a bit in awe because he was at a big club in Luton Town. I told him that he’s only come up one level, from the Skrill South, so what have you got to fear?”
The Town fielded a couple of trialists, including Italian right-back Andrea Pisani, who played four times for Juventus in Serie A in 2006.
“He came recommended to us and I thought he did okay,” said Hayrettin. “He did very well going forward and I think he fitted in well.
“It can sometimes be difficult for trialists to impress in development matches but they all get a decent opportunity.
“Players will always get the chance to train with us and John will always give them a fair crack of the whip. He’s fair and he’ll always tell them where they stand.
“John and Terry Harris both watched the match and it’s up to them now to sit down and make a decision.”
The development squad are next in action next Wednesday, 13th November, when the Town take on AFC Dunstable in the Beds Senior Cup at Creasey Park (kick-off 7.30pm). Admission on the night is £6 adults and £3 concessions.
The tie will double up to contest the David Preece memorial trophy, which the Town won in pre-season last season.