Plenty to ponder for John before Pompey visit
Town boss John Still has plenty of decisions to make ahead of Saturday’s League 2 clash with Portsmouth at Kenilworth Road.
The manager was delighted with the performance of his side in Tuesday’s Capital One Cup tie with Premier League Stoke City.
Still made six changes for that game, which saw the Hatters bow out bravely on penalties after holding the Potters for 120 minutes.
The Town, however, go into the weekend fixture with Pompey still in search of their first win in the League this term, leaving the boss with a number of selection options – especially in defence.
“It’s about looking at combinations,” Still said at his Thursday press conference. “Yes, I made how many changes for the first cup game and the second one as well.
“I was very, very impressed with Scott Cuthbert and Luke Wilkinson, just as impressed as I was with the three centre halves against Bristol City. I thought they were fantastic together.
“The back four were top drawer on Tuesday. It was Steve O’Donnell’s best game, he’s just settling into it and getting into it; Scott Griffiths’ best game, and the goalkeeper was top drawer, too.”
Still’s recruitment this summer of 12 new faces means he will have to manage a number of disappointed players that don’t even make the bench – let alone the starting XI.
And he’s got no problem with that – far from it.
“When good players that have worked hard, it’s never easy not playing them, it’s difficult. But that’s the job, you have to do this job without fear or favour,” said the manager.
“When I first started managing, when I was 28, I left my mate out for the first game. Not playing players…it doesn’t bother me, it doesn’t give me satisfaction because that is the job to do the best you can for the team.
“Unfortunately that’s how it is and with the squad being stronger this year, that’s going to be the case with more disappointed, but disappointment makes the weak weaker and the strong stronger.
“And I didn’t want to be weaker this season, I want the competition to be really strong.
“For all players, if they don’t play and the team puts a good performance in, it’s going to do one of two things. It’s either going to spur them, or going to make them a bit lower.
“Nobody got dropped for the Bristol City game and no-one got dropped for game the other night.
“I pick players to look at combinations and used the two cup games to do that.”
Watch the manager's full press conference on Hatters Player HD, which also includes 12 minutes of extended HD highlights of Tuesday's game with Stoke.