Boss not concerned about reputation as competition for places hots up
Town boss John Still says he will pick players on who is playing best – and will not select those purely on reputation.
The Hatters manager has plenty of options ahead of Saturday’s Sky Bet League 2 clash with Oxford United at Kenilworth Road.
Still made eight changes for the midweek Capital One Cup tie against Bristol City and saw his side win 3-1 to set up a second round tie at home to Premier League Stoke.
Having signed 11 new players over the summer, the boss has been delighted by the response of his squad as the competition for places hots up in only in the second week of the season.
“When they’re here, age, reputation, experience, only counts if you are as good as someone else although that will change throughout the season,” Still said at his Thursday press conference.
“In the promotion season, Andre [Gray] didn’t start the season, because he wasn’t playing as well as he could.
“I don’t worry about reputation. I couldn’t care less, the best players play.”
Jack Marriott staked a claim for a starting berth against Oxford with two well-taken goals in a man-of-the-match performance on Tuesday.
And Still admitted that the striker’s progress has taken him by surprise.
“Jack’s come in and is probably a bit further advanced than I thought he might be,” said the boss.
“That’s down to his character because he doesn’t want to be content to be behind everyone, he wants to be up with everybody, and he’s shown that he is.
“Jack’s at the stage where he needs to compete for a place, but with young players, you have to be careful, you can’t give them too much too early.”
But it’s not just in attack that the boss has options…
“Luke Wilkinson we like a lot and Wilko’s raised his game, Steve McNulty, our captain – his form has been exemplary.
“Scott Cuthbert is a top player…Mark O’Brien can play centre-half, right-back, centre midfield…and Magnus Okuonghae is only a couple of weeks away...
“There’s competition for places and you have to keep playing well to stay in the team.”
Watch the manager's pre-match press conference on Hatters Player.