Hatters boss ahead of Cobblers test
The Town have lost their last five matches in League 2. Not since 2008 have the Hatters experienced such a sequence of bad defeats.
Yet despite a run of seven defeats in eight there is still hope. Hope that a successful first season back in the Football League can end with a historical tale to tell. Never has a Luton side won back-to-back promotions.
Six of those seven defeats in recent weeks have been by the odd goal. The fine margins in football are conspiring against the Town.
Manager John Still doesn’t believe in luck but he can see light at the end of the tunnel as the Hatters go into their last eight matches of the season.
The light, however, has dimmed slightly in the last few days with yet more injuries to contend with: Elliot Lee, Fraser Franks and Jake Howells are the latest casualties, and are all unavailable for Saturday's game at Northampton.
"It's a good game for us to play," said Still, positively, at his Thursday press conference. "I said the other day if I had to pick games to play I would have played Wycombe.
"This is a local derby, a good game, their manager is a good pal of mine and they're the games you want to play. They're a good all round side.
"I expected Northampton to do better, if I’m being honest, than they have done, but they have picked up quite a bit.
"It was a tough game here [in October] so I'm not under any illusions about how tough it'll be on Saturday.
"They'll be in good spirits and people might say our spirits are not so high, and I understand that, but it's 11 against 11 so we'll see."
The Hatters' downturn in fortune has coincided with injuries to midfielders Nathan Doyle and Jonathan Smith but the light the manager can see at the end of that tunnel flickers brighter with the news that the duo are nearing full fitness.
Doyle has only been on the losing side for the Town twice in the 20 League 2 matches he’s featured in since joining from Bradford this season but has trained all week.
Smith, who has recovered from a badly broken leg last season, is on the mend once again following a knee injury.
"Nathan has trained perfect all week, so we'll have a look and see how he does in the session tomorrow and decide from that," said Still on Thursday.
"We'd like him to have a development game if we're honest but we'll see, because next week's a free week. There's no Tuesday game, if he was to play he's got a fair bit of recovery time between games.
"For Smith it's a bit of tendinitis…he's come back and you get injuries like that. He really needed to rest a little bit, maybe Saturday so we'll keep our fingers crossed with that as that's close."
There is light at the end of the tunnel but games are running out. The Town need a win on Saturday – and, according to the manager – they have the character to do so.
"I'm not overly disappointed with how we've played, I think we've played okay. Obviously you do get effected by confidence, of course you do. It's a natural thing," said Still.
"Somewhere along the line the spark will turn around and spark for us. As long as we work hard that will happen. I don't believe in luck as in the end you start to rely on it. If we keep working hard it will happen for us.
"When people talk about the attitude…the boys are terrific. Are they disappointed? Yes. But disappointment makes the weak weaker and the strong stronger. We have to keep working hard and try and do enough to get something from this season.
"You need your strong characters but I don't think we've lacked that, in my opinion the only thing we've lacked is making the right decision defensively. From being, for 18 months or so, rock solid, we've come off that."