Harry Isted seized his opportunity and produced a top display between the sticks after coming on as a substitute during the FA Cup defeat against Chelsea yesterday.
When Jed Steer suffered an injury in the opening minutes, Isted was called upon for only the third time as a Luton player but made his mark straight away with a number of key saves to keep the Hatters in the game during the first half.
On the moment itself when he was introduced, Isted said: “I can’t really remember much of it! I knew as soon as Jed went down it was bad, so I got ready and before I knew it, I was on the pitch. I didn’t really feel nervous to get on because it all happened so quick but it was great to get on.
“This is my fifth season here, so I’ve been training in the first team environment in League Two, League One and Championship. I know I can step up when needed, I haven’t been needed much but I feel confident any time I come on the pitch.”
With a great league campaign nearing an exciting conclusion, the keeper insists the team will take the positives from their performance against the club world champions and take it into Saturday’s match against Middlesbrough.
“Obviously we are disappointed but it’s a great group of lads in there. We will get around each other. It’s a test to see what level we’re at but coming from five years ago, we’re at a pretty decent level.”
Initially out of contract in the summer, Isted later resigned to remain at Kenilworth Road, though in his wildest of dreams might he have expected to be called upon against the reigning European champions.
“I was out of contract in the summer but what I was going to do fell through. Luton liked me around the place, knew I was a good lad and I put everything into training so they were happy to give me another year.
“There’s always a chance that you will come on. I didn’t want to come on in those circumstances because of Jed but you are always ready. You still have to prepare right the night before and the whole week.
“It hasn’t sunk in at all,” the 24-year-old admitted. “I try not to think about anything, I have a job to do and I have to concentrate on that.
“I think you always think about it especially when you are on the bench. I’ve played in the Checkatrade Trophy twice, but this is the biggest game I’ve played in ever. You think about scenarios like ‘am I going to get on’ but you always have to be ready. I was ready to come on and I felt confident in my ability to come on and settle in and put in a good performance.”