Boss's thoughts on first fortnight back in the League“Steady”. That is John Still’s assessment of the Town’s start to life back in the Football League.
The Hatters have collected four points from their first three matches in Sky Bet League 2 following a win over Carlisle, a draw against Bury and defeat against AFC Wimbledon.
It’s the same points total the Town had at this stage last season, and, while the boss isn’t predicting his side will romp away with the title like did in the Conference last season, Still has been relatively pleased with what he’s seen from his team in the opening fortnight of the campaign.
“We’re not good. We’re not bad. We’re steady,” said the manager at his press conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to Accrington Stanley.
“I think in the three league games we’ve played so far we’ve had good parts of each, but all for different reasons.
“In defence – I know we made a mistake on Tuesday – I’ve been pleased, just as I was last year.
“In attack, though, we’re not in the groove yet. We’re lacking a bit of balance with the players we have missing, and we’re trying to make something work.
“Our work-rate has been very good, our organisation has been very good. Our play in our half has been very good, the play in their half has not been great, the play in the final third has not been good.”
As Still admitted, it is still early days, and work on the training ground has been focused on improving that problem area: making chances.
“I’m not concerned about the defence – the fact we’ve conceded two goals; against Carlisle – tough start – Wimbledon – who have had a good start – and Bury – one of the favourites – tells me we haven’t got a million problems defensively,” said Still.
“It’s creating opportunities more than anything else, and finding a way in the final third to link our play better.
“The linking of the midfield areas to the forwards hasn’t quite happened yet. Nobody’s done poorly, it’s just that link. We’re working hard in training on improving that. Luke Rooney’s done okay and has been the one bit of spark we’ve had in the final third if I’m being honest.
“All we’ve been missing is a bit of balance on the right but we’re still trying to fine-tune all the aspects we have. All the players are trying to find their levels.
“It depends on what you accept and what you expect. Sometimes you expect not to have it ‘dead on’ at this early stage of the season but, it you accept that, things might take longer to progress.
“You’ve got to push it and believe it can get better – and that’s what we need to work on in training.”
The Town head north to take on an Accrington side who sit at the bottom of the table having lost all three matches so far, including a 4-0 defeat at Shrewsbury on Tuesday.
“All games are tough, no matter what league you’re in,” said Still on facing James Beattie’s side. “Accrington know they need to push on and grab some points but we’re under no illusions of the task in front of us.
“But I don’t fear any team, and never have, whoever they are.
“I believe if we work hard enough and put all things together we’re a formidable team. We’ve just got to keep working hard to make sure that happens.”
Catch the whole of the manager's press conference on Hatters Player, together with extended match highlights and live online commentary of every Town game.