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Watch | Mick Harford's Pre-Preston North End press conference

Assistant Manager Mick provides an update ahead of Saturday...

18 March 2021

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Hatters defender Tom Lockyer is today back in training after more than a month out through injury, Assistant Manager Mick Harford confirmed.

The centre-back, who sustained an injury in the home defeat against Cardiff City, has recently been included in Wales’ World Cup Qualifying squad and could be in contention for Saturday’s Sky Bet Championship match against Preston North End.

“Lockyer is back out on the field now training with the boys. He’s key to them (Wales) at the moment in terms of what he does for that team and they probably see him as a key compartment in the games that are coming up. So if he’s fit and well then we’ll have to monitor him, speak to their doctors and see if he’s able to go.

“He’s trained today, that’s the first time, we’ll monitor him tomorrow, see how he comes through tomorrow and then make a decision on him.”

Lockyer would undoubtedly be a huge boost for the Hatters but in his place, Kal Naismith has demonstrated his versatility to become a very useful asset at centre-back.

“Kal has been brilliant since he came in. He took a week or so to settle down. He got thrown in the deep end away against Chelsea in the FA Cup, but he’s got up to speed and fitness and now he’s showing he’s worth playing in a position he’s played for Wigan a few times. 

“He’s a real composed centre half. We’re really pleased with Kal and it’s one of those signings that we knew he was a real good player, but we saw him as a midfield player, but he’s fitted in as a centre half and has done excellently.”

Another January addition that has impressed Big Mick is Elijah Adebayo, who scored his third goal for the Hatters during the 2-0 win against Coventry City on Tuesday evening.

“One thing is he’s got the right attitude, wants to learn, is a real good kid, very diligent and he wants to get better, so that’s a massive bonus for us.

“In any walk of life you can always keep improving on a daily basis, if he keeps doing his work, he’s very diligent, this morning he wanted to do a little bit of work in terms of attacking play and we did it with a couple of midfield players helping him out, so he’ll keep improving, the biggest thing is he wants to improve, so he’s got a chance.

“His technique is very, very good, touch is good, he holds the ball up well, links play up well, he’s come in and he’s been a breath of fresh air.”

Adebayo’s showings have contributed to an upturn in team performances but Harford still believes that the team should have more than 47 points at this stage.

“We believe some of the performances haven’t warranted some of the points we’ve amassed. Swansea was an excellent performance and the other night was an excellent performance. I could name a few performances.

“When we played Swansea the other day, that normally happens once a season, where you play really well, dominate the ball, create chance after chance but you get done with a sucker punch.

“That normally happens once a season, but we believe it’s happened to us three or four times this season, so it shows where we are. 

“We’re growing into the league. It’s a really tough, hard league. To get to 50 points will be massive to us and then hopefully we can kick on.”

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