Boss on Cambridge victoryA former Town manager used to make reference to his squad being “down to the bares” bones amid a spate of injuries, but while that that phrase does not belong in John Still’s little book of catchphrases, it was clear the current Hatters manager was pleased to see his side record three points at Cambridge.
Alex Lawless, Luke Rooney, Jake Howells, Jonathan Smith, Paul Benson, Andy Parry, Fraser Franks and Paul Connolly all missed Saturday’s 1-0 triumph through injury, whilst Curtley Williams hobbled off early in the first half.
So given the amount of players on the treatment table, Still was delighted that his side were able to overcome the fact that eight senior professionals were unavailable through injury at the Abbey Stadium.
“I’m being honest and I’m not being funny, we couldn’t pick a team before the game,” admitted Still afterwards.
“Jonathan Smith had a thigh strain. we’ve got no right sided players. Paul Connolly’s trained this week and couldn’t play, Curtley’s not 100 per cent so we went for three centre halves as we’ve got more of them than anywhere else.
“We were a little bit unbalanced and went for two young ‘uns in there again with Jim Stevenson and Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu, without having help from a little bit of experience.
“But we had no Jake, no Rooney, Alex Lawless is not available, Shaun Whalley has not even had a game - you put him on if you’ve got a gun to your head time, just to fill the bench, but it has been a problem.
“It was all about everyone doing their job, doing the right job and fortunately everyone did the right job.
“You know what it does, it helps the young ones grow up quicker. Pelly in the second half was an unbelievable force and I think Jim grew in stature as well.”
The win, achieved courtesy of Mark Cullen’s penalty rebound 10 minutes from time, made it seven points in a week for the Town to push them to within three points off the top seven.
“We’ve still got some ground to make up,” said Still. “We’re not 100 per cent with it yet. We’re getting there, as we did last year, but hopefully we’ll keep improving week-on-week.”