Yet another difficult afternoon ahead says JS
“It’s going to be tough…” said John Still, pausing momentarily for a quick grin, before resuming: “I’m sorry, but they just all are.”
He knew, as he smiled, that his “it’s tough” line was becoming all too familiar.
But what else could he say? When one looks at the League 2 table, it reveals the division to be one of the most competitive in England – and on Saturday two of the nation’s meanest defences go head-to-head at Home Park.
“I think lots of the games are tight to be honest so I wouldn't think that it’ll be anything other than keenly contested,” the boss, matter-of-factly, said at his Thursday press conference.
Both the Town and Argyle have conceded just 17 times this season – only Shrewsbury (16) and Southampton (15) have conceded less in the top five divisions – and that’s a fact not lost on the boss.
“They’re good defensively, we’re good defensively, they have some good attacking players, I think we have some good attacking players,” said Still.
“I would think it’ll be reasonably tight. I'm not a betting man but if I was I would be betting on a tight game.”
Tight, tough, it’s all the same, but the Town make the trip to Devon in good heart, buoyed by a mini four-match unbeaten run in League 2 that has seen the Town play three of the top four teams in the division during that time, winning one – against Newport – and drawing the last three.
“Over the festive period we drew with Shrewsbury, we drew with Portsmouth and we drew with Wycombe," continued Still.
"Against Shrewsbury and Wycombe, the two on paper better sides, we were good enough to win those games and probably deserved to.
“Against Portsmouth, who aren't doing as well, we probably deserved to draw so I don’t think it matters who you play: if Luton play well we have a great chance, whoever we play.”
The Hatters go in search of their first win at Home Park since a 2-1 triumph in April 2006 in the Championship – a day when Paul Connolly was playing for an Argyle side then managed by now West Brom boss Tony Pulis.
But the Town’s pursuit of the points will be undertaken without Alex Lawless, Luke Guttridge, Paul Benson, Pelly Ruddock Mpanzu and – possibly – Luke Rooney.
“Rooney has got a little bit of a groin problem, but from the group that’s been playing, he’s the only one that’s a doubt,” revealed Still as he explained the latest on the Hatters’ walking wounded.
“Gutts has just started light training, Paul Benson is on track to where we thought he would be: we’re hoping that next week he can push on and join in with us the following week.
“Lawless is making progress, he’s not ready yet, but he’s certainly making progress, that’s been quite pleasing.
“Pelly is so close to training, but you get to a stage where we got before and he played and felt it, so we just have to make sure with that.
“But fingers crossed with Lawless and Pelly, probably even Gutts not far behind, it’s a couple of weeks, that’s what we’re looking at.
“It is what it is though. I just get on with it and don’t want to worry about it too much.”
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