Hatters Hopes May Rest On A Prodigal Son
A former Luton Town youngster, released after he was deemed too small to ever make a real impact, could solve the Hatters' goalscoring issues.
The young Andrew Johnson would go on to play for Birmingham City, Crystal Palace, Everton, Fulham, QPR and earned eight England caps, whilst commanding fees totalling over £19m. The 33 year old striker was recently released by Crystal Palace, having only made an appearance in the Capital One Cup this season.
His last league appearance came on 10th February 2014, as he played 45 minutes of QPR's 1-0 defeat at Derby County. Johnson found himself behind Charlie Austin as Harry Redknapp favoured a lone striker, joining Palace at the end of his contract. Following his release by the Eagles, the Bedford-born forward has been training with Luton Town.
For the Hatters, who have struggled to maintain their prolific scoring of last season after the loss of Andre Gray to Brentford, it would bring a proven goalscorer into the fold.
Town have scored just 28 goals in 24 league games, which is only saved by the second best defence in the league. Despite AJ's 34th birthday approaching next month, he is not a player that drops deep to pick up the ball before a mazy run. He is a poacher, his career has been built on being a ball-magnet in the box, and that is something that the Hatters lack at present.
Johnson was also given youth coaching responsibilities at Selhurst Park, and a man of his Premier League and international experience may be a useful resource for the young squad at Kenilworth Road.
Luton have struggled with their away form, only winning four games. With three away games in the next four ties, including this weekend's trip to play-off rivals, Plymouth, negotiations need to conclude sooner rather than later to give the Hatters the best shot at securing one of the three automatic promotion places.
Three consecutive draws have dropped John Still's men down to fifth, and they must not rest on their laurels by considering the play-offs a success. With 66 points left to play for, the Hatters are only seven points behind league-leaders, Wycombe, with a game in hand. Fourth placed Shrewsbury are heavily reliant on their home-form, where they are still undefeated, but this is highly unlikely to last an entire season.
Newport County and Burton Albion have been boosted by very forgiving schedules over the winter months, which certainly gives cause to be hopeful of a return to League One if Town can secure Johnson, or another consistent goalscorer.