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24 October 2014

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Boss on competition for places

With half-a-dozen senior players returning from injury to play in a friendly against Hemel on Wednesday manager John Still will soon have a right old headache.

As the Hatters racked up their sixth successive League 2 win against the manager’s former club Dagenham & Redbridge on Tuesday night, a group of 10 players watched on from the back of the main stand wanting to be on the pitch.

Still knows he’s in a good place right now, although he’s aware that the headache will commence shortly when player upon player ‘knocks on his door’ demanding a place in the team.

But for the moment, the manager can only do what he thinks is right. After all, how do you change a team that has won six matches on the spin?

“It’s not easy to mess around with the team at the moment,” Still said at his Thursday press conference.

“There’s no reason to mess around with something too much. We are introducing people, particularly newer people, gradually.

“We’re finding that competition is beginning to hot up and we’re really pleased with that.”

There’s no greater fight for a place than in midfield.

Matt Robinson, Jim Stevenson and Luke Guttridge are struggling to reclaim their place in the starting XI while Luke Rooney, Jake Howells and Alex Lawless's to full fitness, Still's headache will only get stronger.

“If I’m a midfield player and doing well and everyone behind me is producing good performances in training and good performances in games, I’m saying to myself I’ve got to be on it,” continued the boss.

“As if I’m not and I come out, they might go on another good run, and I’m not going to play.

“It’s not his fault, but Matt Robinson I thought was doing really well but got suspended and now can’t get back in with (Nathan) Doyle, (Jonathan) Smith, (Andy) Drury all doing so well.

“As for Luke Guttridge, we’re managing him. He could play and I’m sure he’s going to feature as he’s such a good player.

“If you were going Saturday, Tuesday, Saturday, Tuesday, you might think I’ll make a little change here, but it goes back to Saturday’s now and it’s not easy to mess around with something too much.

“Gutts had the problem with his foot and we tried to be careful with him, tried to manage him. (Andy) Drury’s doing terrific but Gutts is probably ready, that’s the competition we’re finding, so we’re pleased with that.”


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