'When teams turn on the intensity, Luton wobble'

Expert view Luton graphic
Expert view Luton graphic

Going into what is now their biggest game of the season so far against relegation rivals Nottingham Forest, Luton Town will have to somehow dust themselves down and pick themselves up after the psychologically demoralising defeat on Wednesday.

The loss at Bournemouth could be damaging but the manager, coaches and staff must lift those players and address how and why they squandered such a lead to try and stop it happening again.

But it's not as simple as that and it's important not to be too critical. The majority of pundits never gave the Hatters a chance of staying up and they've already quashed that as they continue to give it a good go.

The crippling injury situation is a nightmare. Eight first team players were missing on Wednesday night, including key players in the spine of the team.

They are having to use the same players game after game and many of them could do with a rest. But such is Rob Edwards' now thin squad, he can't give them that and so mentally and physically the Hatters are exhausted and struggling to cope - thus when teams turn on the intensity, Luton wobble.

The difference between the two halves was more to do with Bournemouth than Luton. In the first half, the Cherries underestimated the Hatters and out of possession were casual, passive and lacking any sort of structured press, which no team can get away with. Luton lapped it up.

After no doubt strong words at half time, Bournemouth sorted their out-of-possession laxness, allowing them to then blitz Edwards' team in possession. Luton are going have to learn very quickly how to deal with situations like that and know what to do when they come under such pressure. Even if that means a bit of gamesmanship and breaking up play with an 'injury' or two.

What it comes down to is decision-making, game management and footballing intelligence. It's not just about the basics like technique, talent and touch, the very best players have both skillsets.

That's what Luton are up against - teams that can spend 10, 20, 30 million pounds to get those types of players. The Hatters might be able to do that in the future but, guess what, that would involve staying up. Football can be cruel, hence, Forest on Saturday is massive.

Commentary of Luton Town v Nottingham Forest on BBC three counties digital radio